3 consequences about the Maximum Residue Levels after Brexit.

By | Agronomy, Food for thought, Food Safety | No Comments

T he departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, will impact the agriculture of all European horticultural companies and in particular the export of the Mediterranean Countries.You can hear several rumours about what will happen, some of these with a catastrophic perspective.

On the other hand, we need to don’t think that everything will remain the same. There will be changes and I will tell you the two scenarios that could occur and the three consequences from the point of view of the relationship between the  Food Safety and the fruit and vegetable market, especially with regard to maximum residue levels of the pesticides.

Hypothesis #1. Probably the trade relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union will follow the same course of the countries as Iceland and Norway: outside the Union, but with a foot within the European economic area.

Therefore, majorities of European laws and regulations will remain unchanged and the UK will continue to respect the same European standards like today.

The second hypothesis is that the United Kingdom will completely withdraw from the European market so that it can be supplied by other world markets, such as the United States, North Africa and developing countries.

Both scenarios are a bit extremes. It is true that the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU does not imply that the exports are terminated, but that they will be carried out under different conditions.

The most evident consequence is the fall in the price of the pound against the euro.

From a technical point of view we can speculate that one of the most important changes will be the relationship between EFSA, European Food Safety Authority, and the UK. EFSA’s main objective is to provide scientific methods for alerting and detecting all problems affecting food safety. EFSA, for example, establishes the residue limits of plant protection products. Currently in force is the Regulation 396/2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin.

Accordingly, in the interest of free movement of goods, equal competition conditions among the Member States, as well as a high level of consumer protection, it has been considered appropriate that maximum residue levels (MRLs) for products of plant and animal origin be set at Community level, taking into account good agricultural practice.

These maximum residue limits (MRLs), which are set by the European Commission, include:

Specific MRLs for certain foodstuffs intended for humans or animals and an overall limit applicable where no MRLs have been established (a ‘default limit’ of 0,01 mg / kg).

 

What will happen after Brexit?

Hypothesis # 1: Britain will continue to collaborate with the EU and EFSA on common food safety issues. This also involves collaboration from a financial point of view. In this case, nothing change. .

Hypothesis #2: The United Kingdom does not collaborate with Europe on this issue, using the proper Food Safety Agency (FSA). This is quite likely. Of course, there are things the British want to change: not surprisingly, there was a clear desire to move from Hazard-based regulation to a Risk-based approach, strongly science-based and proportionate, whilst maintaining or improving current human and environmental safety standards and taking account of socio-economic benefits.

Hypothesis #3. United Kingdom is homologated to the United States. The British wants to stop unnecessary expiry of authorisations and routine reviews and introduce a US EPA-style data ‘call in’ system. They  should simplify or remove efficacy requirements, and onerous assessments for minor uses and low risk products including bio-pesticides – and have an emergency approvals/essential uses system for unforeseen problems, that we do not have in Europe now.

What will happen on the subject of MRLs could also change the viewpoint of Europeans and bring the European Union closer to the American market

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The Agronomy Field Walking will be assisted by the radar

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This is an interview to Alessio Cantone, an international expert about radar application in agricolture. It seems that we should not wait for the future to have the technology that can help farmers and agronomists in the field walking: the monitoring operation to control the crop health . The radar technology is able to produce a specific risk maps so that you can also monitor the production into the greenhouses or tunnels.

Climate changes :Historic Drought Hits Bolivian Agricultural Production

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The world mostly agrees that something needs to be done about global warming and climate change. The first stumbling block, however, has been trying to get an agreement on a framework. In 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meterological Organization (WMO) to assess the scientific knowledge on global warming. The IPCC concluded in 1990 that there was broad international consensus that climate change was human-induced. What has happened since then?

President Evo Morales has declared a state of emergency in November due to water shortages in large swaths of the country amid the worst drought in 25 years, making funds available to alleviate a crisis that has affected families and the agricultural sector.

This historic drought in Bolivia is causing water restrictions in households in the capital of La Paz and reducing grain and oilseed production output by 27 percent in 2016. Sources indicate the cause of the drought is a combination of global climate change and cyclical rains Rains returned to Santa Cruz in early November 2016 and the outlook for the crop season of the summer (January-March) of 2017 is positive. Total planted area is estimated at 1.5 million hectares of which 990,000 hectares is soybeans

Fresh salad. Leaf chopping increases the Salmonella risk

By | Food for thought, Food Safety | No Comments

University of Leicester team show leached juices from leafy vegetables enhance growth and virulence of food poisoning bug.

Here is another article highlighting the risk of fresh cut salad. The aim here is to underline those aspects of the food industry which must be improved rather than making consumers diffident or afraid when buying a salad bag.

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 18 November 2016

  • Lab study shows juices from damaged leaves in bagged salad increase Salmonella pathogen growth 2400-fold over a control group
  • Leached juices also increased the pathogen’s capacity to form a strong and wash-resistant attachment to salad leaves
  • Research highlights need for growers to maintain high food safety standards

The research is led by Dr Primrose Freestone of the University’s Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation and PhD student Giannis Koukkidis, who has been funded by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) i-case Studentship.

Here below the link showing the results of the University investigation.

According to my experience the risk of pathogens bacterial growth is high when the hygiene conditions during the cultivation process are not met by the producer. If salad will be produced according to the standard and hygiene parameters there will not be risk of Salmonella or E.coli O157 for example.

For this reason Casaqa is deeply involved in the study of the ideal environment for the cultivation of salad with the aim to prevent any kind of contamination. An excellent result has been already achieved thanks to the cultivation in specific designed green houses which are different from the green houses used until today.  Clearly the cultivation in an open field cannot be easily under control since it is subject to external contaminations such as wild and domestic animals, pollution etc., on the other side the method and green houses are giving great results.

Even if the fact is well known in the industry it is difficult to convince them of the use of these specific green houses especially in Spain which is one of the biggest salad producer in Europe.

Casaqa is working in this direction to innovate the fresh salad sector. Even if these changes are not often accepted, Casaqa continues to promote the methods and techniques to improve the food safety in the baby leaf production.

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E.coli deaths: two people have died and 151 cases have been confirmed. Mixed salad leaves linked to outbreak

By | Featured, Food for thought | 3 Comments

In UK 2 people have died and 151 cases have been confirmed in an E.coli outbreak  that seems to be linked to eating mixed salad leaves and especially wild rocket.

Two people died and a further 62 needed hospital attention after contracting the infection. In total are 151 cases that have been confirmed. Health autorities have said more than 150 people in the UK have been found to have been infected with the E. coli O157  bacteria—many of whom had eaten pre-packed salad containing rocket leaves.

"“PHE has been working to establish the cause of the outbreak and has identified that several of the affected individuals ate mixed salad leaves including rocket leaves prior to becoming unwell.
“PHE is also working closely with the Food Standards Agency to trace, sample and test salad products grown in the UK and other parts of Europe.

“As an additional precautionary measure, we have advised a small number of wholesalers to cease adding some imported rocket leaves to their mixed salad products pending further investigations"

Dr Isabel OliverDirector of PHE’s field epidemiology service

Rocket leaves is suspected to be mainly contaminated by E.coli

Public Health England  is still investigating the exact cause. A small number of wholesalers  has been advised to cease importing wild rocket leaves for their mixed salad products. They are recommending shoppers wash pre-packaged mixed leaves thoroughly.

The health body believe the strain of E. coli is likely to have been imported, perhaps from the Meditteranean.

E. coli can cause bloody diarrhoea as well as stomach ache. People can avoid getting the invection by washing hands thoroughly and keeping unwashed vegetables away from food that is ready to eat

The Mountain

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