Besides its main role of ensuring food safety since its creation 35 years ago, a 2013 annual report RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) shows that it is a crucial tool to trace back and withdraw products where fraud was detected.
Annual report covers the reporting period 2013, where a total of 3 205 original notifications were transmitted through the RASFF, of which 596 were classified as an alert, 442 as information for follow-up, 705 as information for attention and 1 462 as border rejection notification. These original notifications gave rise to 5 158 follow-up notifications, representing on average about 1.6 follow-ups per original notification. Follow-up notifications can lead to a series of actions for example: recall, withdrawal, seizure and destruction of food products. The overall number of notifications transmitted through RASFF in 2013 compared to 2012 decreased by 9%.
Some of the most notable issues were food-borne outbreaks due to the presence of hepatitis A virus found in berry mixes and strawberries, adverse reactions caused by food supplements with potentially dangerous ingredients, shigatoxin-producing E.coli (STEC) in meat and pesticides residues on plant products.
Of the 3 205 original notifications transmitted in RASFF in 2013, the vast majority (2 710, 84.6%) concerned food, 272 concerned feed (8.5%) and 223 notifications concerned food contact materials (6.9%).
Friday June 13, 2014/ EC/ European Union.