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This Brief provides a general description of the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). It describes the RASFF approach on the legal level and with reference to notification procedures, including also new tools, which were launched in 2014: iRASFF and the RASFF Consumer Portal. In an introduction, the present status of the RASFF, which had originally been introduced in 1979, is briefly reviewed. It is described as the main basis of modern food policy in Europe, enabling member countries to take rapid corrective actions on the one hand, and to perform statistically reliable analyses of food-related hazards on the other hand.
One chapter contains a statistical evaluation of RASFF notifications in general, and specifically with regard to chemical contaminants, including also allergens. In another chapter, reasons for rejections of food and feed at the European borders are analyzed in selected case studies. The Brief provides an easy description for the chemical dangers and contaminants it is referring to, outlining the names, properties, uses and importance in the food and feed industry, toxicological effects, and contamination sources. The last chapter offers an outlook on the future of the RASFF and possible expectations.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. The RASFF: Legal Bases, Aims and Procedures for Notifications

This chapter provides a general overview of the current food policy in the European Union from the consumers’ viewpoint. It describes the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) approach on the legal level and with reference to notification procedures. In particular, the chapter explains the definition of original notifications—alerts, border rejection episodes and information ‘for follow-up’ and ‘for attention’—and non-original notifications. The history of RASFF, which had originally been introduced in 1979, is briefly reviewed on the basis of the historical evolution of Food Policy in the European Union and food scares.
Salvatore Parisi, Caterina Barone, Ramesh Kumar Sharma

Chapter 2. RASFF Alert and Information Notifications. A Statistical Review

This chapter contains a statistical evaluation of RASFF alert notifications in general. The study concerns the comparison between recorded alerts in two different temporal periods, the broad 1979–1990 and the four-year 2011–2014 intervals. The analysis of product categories and hazard categories has been performed with the aim of defining the next ‘emerging concerns’ by the food safety viewpoint. Moreover, authors have analysed all calculated results with relation to a new risk classification (seven different risk typologies, including adulteration, and fraud episodes, processing failures, allergens, and GMO). In addition, the chapter discusses chemical risks and contaminants, including also allergens.
Salvatore Parisi, Caterina Barone, Ramesh Kumar Sharma

Chapter 3. EU Border Rejection Cases: Reasons and RASFF Notifications

This chapter contains a statistical evaluation of RASFF border rejection notifications. The study concerns the comparison between recorded notifications in two different temporal periods: the four-year 2008–2011 and the subsequent three-year 2012–2014 intervals. The analysis of product categories and hazard categories has been performed with the aim of defining the next ‘emerging concerns’ from the food safety viewpoint. Moreover, authors have analysed all calculated results with relation to a new risk classification (seven different risk typologies, including adulteration and fraud episodes, processing failures, allergens, and GMO). The comparison between alert and border rejection notifications has been also carried out and discussed in detail.
Salvatore Parisi, Caterina Barone, Ramesh Kumar Sharma

Chapter 4. Conclusions and the Future of the RASFF

This chapter offers an outlook on the future of the rapid alert system for food and feed (RASFF) system and possible expectations. The influence of market needs on RASFF records is notable. In addition, the statistical study of RASFF documents (alerts and border rejection notifications above all) and the analysis of emerging trends may help the analysis of food safety risks in other ambits such as the new ‘Food Safety Modernization Act’ in the United States of America. In general, the scarcity of certain products in the RASFF area with the consequent and increasing need of imported materials seem to important factors when speaking of high-risk product categories and the correlated monitoring level. With concern to hazards, allergens and GMO appear as the ‘emerging’ hazard for the next years, while adulteration and fraud episodes appear to be recurrent menaces; as a result, a strict surveillance is required with the aim of overburdening the inspection capacity of official controls across the whole RASFF area.
Salvatore Parisi, Caterina Barone, Ramesh Kumar Sharma
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