Half Of Rapid Alert System Notifications Concern Imports Rejected At EU Border

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About 45% of notifications to the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed in 2006 concerned products from third countries which were blocked at the border by EU control authorities when the risks were identified.

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EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou today visited the border inspection post of Antwerp to highlight the importance of food safety controls and the EU's rapid alert system to ensure food safety. Commissioner Kyprianou presented the 2006 annual report on the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) which shows that notifications on risks to food safety fell by 5% in 2006 compared to 2005. This is the first time since the establishment of this food safety tool that there has been a decrease in the number of notifications. The drop can be explained largely by effective measures taken to address illegal dyes and the application of new European criteria for certain pathogenic microbes, replacing the diverse national criteria that were in place until then. In total, 6840 notifications of food and feed risks were received through the RASFF last year, compared to 7170 in 2005. The category for which the most alerts were sent was fishery products (21%), followed by meat and meat products (13%) and cereals and bakery products (12%). The 2006 RASFF report also looks at some of the bigger food safety incidents of that year and outlines the measures taken to address the problems.

Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health, said:

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