Food fraud fine ‘not fit for purpose’: BEIC

By Noli Dinkovski contact

- Last updated on GMT

More than 90% of UK eggs are now produced to British Lion standards
More than 90% of UK eggs are now produced to British Lion standards
Food fraud should be subjected to stronger deterrents after a Dutch trader, convicted of fraudulently selling contaminated eggs as fit for human consumption, was fined €30,000 (£26,260), the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) has argued.

The egg trader, from Mijnsheerenland in Zuid-Holland, was also found guilty of selling battery eggs as free-range, BEIC said.

Inspections at the company’s warehouse found eggs stamped with fake registration numbers, so their origin could not be determined, it added.

BEIC chairman Andrew Joret said that while it was good to see the producer brought to account for its actions, a relatively small fine “serves very little purpose” ​as a preventative measure.

“This is a serious offence, with potentially serious food safety implications,” ​he said. “There simply have to be stronger deterrents in place to discourage food fraud and I would strongly urge UK food businesses to look for the Lion​ [accreditation mark].

‘A recurring issue’

“Food safety scares linked to non-UK eggs is a recurring issue, so we hope it will act as a reminder for more caterers and consumers to look for the additional food safety standards of Lion eggs, which are fully traceable.

“The independently-audited British Lion scheme ensures the highest standards of food safety and has a number of stringent processes in place to ensure full traceability. These include mass balance checks, additional auditing, a database of egg movements and on-farm marking.

The British Lion scheme has effectively eliminated salmonella from British Lion eggs, BEIC said.

In 2017, the Food Standards Agency confirmed that Lion eggs were the only ones that were safe to be consumed runny, or even raw, by everyone – including vulnerable groups. More than 90% of UK eggs are now produced to British Lion standards.

Food safety recalls

In other food safety-related news, Turkish producers were found to be responsible for a total of 82 UK food recalls in the final three months of 2018 – far ahead any other country of origin.

The level of recalls meant Turkey has now led the country of origin list for four of the past five quarters, according to the Stericycle Recall Index.

Poland, meanwhile, had 45 recalls in Q4 2018, with the US and France each having 43 and the Netherlands 40.

In total, the number of food, feed and food contact material recalls from products made overseas rose significantly in Q4 of 2018 – with figures showing the third highest total since RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) records began.

The Index found the figure increased to 972 in the final three months of the year, 13% higher than Q3.

The most common type of product recalled – for the fourth quarter in a row – was nuts, nut products and seeds with 148 recalls. This was followed by fruit and vegetables with 131 and fish and fish products with 97.

The top cause for recalls was bacterial contamination (213) followed by chemicals (163) and aflatoxins (115). Bacterial contamination has been the top cause of food recalls and notifications for nine consecutive quarters.

Related topics: Food Safety, Dairy

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