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Explanation of unsuitable parameters

06/26/2015
 

Food safety

When deciding if a foodstuff is or is not safe, the following is taken into consideration:
  • normal conditions of use of the foodstuff;

  • normal conditions of use of the foodstuff in each phase of production, processing and distribution ;

  • information provided to the consumer, including information on labels or other information generally available to the producer on how to avoid harmful effects of a particular foodstuff or food category.

When deciding if a foodstuff is or is not injurious to health, the following is taken into consideration:

  • likely immediate or short- or long-term effects of the foodstuff both on health of the consumer and on health of next generations;

  • likely cumulative toxic effects;

  • exceptional sensitivity of a certain group of consumers if the foodstuff is intended for the group.

When deciding if a foodstuff is or is not unfit for human consumption, it must be taken into consideration whether the foodstuff is acceptable for human consumption with respect to its intended use:

  • due to contamination caused by foreign or other substances;

  • due to putrefaction, spoilage or decay.

Food shall not be placed on the market if it is unsafe.

According to legislation, food injourious to health or unfit for human consumption cannot be regarded as safe.

Misleading consumers

The consumer shall not be misled by:

  • labelling, advertising or presentation of food;

  • shape, appearance of packaging of food, used packaging materials, or the means of its presentation;

  • location of display;

  • information about food provided by any media.

Storage conditions

Storage conditions may be defined by legislation requirements, a declaration on the label or both. The following recommendations may be found: "Store in a cool and dry place", "Store below 8 °C". If storage conditions are observed, the producer guarantees the quality of the product for the period determined by the use-by or best before date.

The storage temperatures defined by legislation apply to chilled and deep-frozen food; when handling such products, the cooling chain shall not be interrupted.

Examples of the storage conditions of selected products:

  • Deep-frozen food – must be stored below –18 °C. When handling these products, a short temperature rise that shall not exceed –15 °C is allowed. These temperatures apply to ice creams as well.

  • Cold food – as producers usually recommend, storage temperature should be between 1 and 5 °C, sometimes even 8 °C.

  • For durable meat products, the combination of storage temperature and storage life is defined: "best before 21 days at 20 °C."

Spirits

Denaturing agents

Spirits shall not be made of denatured alcohol. Among the most frequently detected denaturing agents belong 2-propanol, tertiary butanol and bitrex.

Methanol 

Methanol is a natural part of ferment, it forms from pectin substances contained in fruits during alcohol fermentation. Due to their different boiling points, methanol is separated from ethanol in the course of distillation. However, certain amount of methanol remains in fruit spirits. The maximum concentration of methanol in spirits is generally regarded as a quality requirement. However, it is necessary to distinguish between the situations when, while following standard production procedures, the limit has only been exceed slightly, and the situations when methanol has been used instead of ethanol to produce the spirit (limit exceed thousand times) – the consumption of such spirits causes death.

Meat

Tenderised meat 

There are many ways how to tenderise meat. The practice of injecting saline solutions into meat, sometimes with the addition of flavourings, belongs among such techniques. It must be clearly stated on the label that meat has been enhanced and what ingredients have been added. It is useful to check how much water or salt and how much meat the product contains. Chicken meat is the most frequently tenderised kind of meat.

Water/proteins ratio 

The maximum protein-to-water ratio is defined by legislation. The higher the ratio, the more water and the less proteins a product contains. If the limit is exceeded, it may indicate for instance that water has been added in the course of production or that technological procedures have not been followed (e.g. improper or unauthorized cooling method).

Polyphosphates

Polyphosphates are added to food also due to their ability to bind water, especially when it comes to fish. The omission to state their presence on the label is regarded as the misleading of customers.

Ice glazed fish

Ice glaze is a protective layer of ice for fish that prevents them from drying out. Consumers must be informed that a product is ice glazed and about the amount of water added if the water content is higher than 5 %.

Eggs

Dirty or damaged eggshell

Legislation defines a certain permissible number of eggs with imperfections and illegible labelling.

Eggs are divided into categories according to weight:

XL – very large: weight 73 g or more;

L – large: weight at least 63 g and less than 73 g;

M – medium: weight at least 53 g and less than 63 g;

S – small: weight less than 53 g.

The code on eggs comprises of:

  • the method of hen breeding, labelled by a respective code:

 "1" for laying hen bred free range;

 "2" for laying hen bred in barns;

 "3" for laying hen bred in cages;

 "0" for laying hen bred in accordance with the requirements of ecological farming.

  • country registration code;

  • four-digit alphanumeric code, expressing the numeric part of the producer's registration number.

Storage conditions

Eggs should be stored under stable temperature of less than 18 °C.

Honey

Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF)

It is a substance is formed during honey processing, mostly at higher temperatures. There are two legislation limits – the higher one (less strict) applies to honey from tropical areas.


Sweeteners and additional substances 

No substances, including natural sweeteners and colorants, may be added to honey. If the addition of sugar, starch, rice syrup is detected, it is regarded as honey adulteration. Ammonium sulfite caramel that gives brown colour to honey or colourless sugar solutions is the most frequently detected colorant.


Pollen grains 

The origin of honey may be determined upon the constitution of pollen grains. If honey is labelled as "Czech honey", it must not contain pollen grains of plants from tropical areas.


Diastase

Diastase is an enzyme that honey does not contain naturally. It is regarded as a quality indicator; the activity of the enzyme decreases as honey gets older or when exposed to higher temperatures (it is undesirable to expose honey to higher temperatures).

Meat products

Water activity

The highest allowed value of water activity (aw) for dry meat products (e.g. Vysočina or Poličan salami) is 0.93; if this value is higher, the product may not be "dried" enough. Products with the low value of water activity are less prone to the spoilage caused by microorganisms or mould.


Pure muscle protein in dry meat products

For the following durable dry products, the minimum amount of pure muscle protein the products shall contain is defined: vysočina, turistický trvanlivý salám, selský salám, poličan, lovecký salám, dunajská klobása, paprikáš and Herkules. The amount of pure muscle protein indicates the amount of muscle mass (usually referred to as "lean meat") that is basically the most expensive component of a foodstuff.


Hams

In accordance with the Decree, hams are divided into quality classes according to the amount of pure muscle protein (PMP) as follows: standard (at least 10 % of weight), selected (at least 13 % of weight) and the best quality (at least 16 % of weight). Fibrous material, starch, vegetable proteins and other animal proteins shall not be added to selected and best-quality hams.

Meat and meat content

All types of used meat must be stated on a product packaging; if chicken meat is used in the product, it must be stated on the label. If this is not the case, the consumer has been misled. The amounts of declared ingredients (as stated on the packaging label) must also be observed.

Ice creams

Presence of ice or ice crystals

These indicate that the cooling (or freezing) chain has been interrupted. The presence of ice crystals indicates that the product has been re-frozen after defrosting/melting.

Beer

Beer wort extract

To put it simply, beer wort extract is the content of sugars, vitamins, minerals and other substances that passed from ingredients to the so-called beer wort in the course of beer brewing ("beer wort" is the liquid that will later become beer after it has left a brew house and before brewing yeasts have been added). This parameter strongly influences one of sensory properties of beer, the co-called fullness – the taste of beer with the higher amount of beer wort is fuller. The amount or beer wort extract is defined by legislation for individual beer categories ("draught beer" or "lager").

Wine

Oxidase

Oxidase has been detected in wine by taste and smell. Oxidase is a wine fault. The colour of wine is usually very dark to brownish with taste and smell of apples. Original sensory aspects are usually completely suppressed, original aromatic substances vaporise and taste deteriorates.

 

Undesirable biological processes

Undesirable biological processes may be caused for instance by excessive autolysis of yeast – nitrogenous substances and proteins in wine transform to various undesirable splitting products that negatively influence taste and bouquet of wine (putrefaction).

 

Undesirable volatile substances

Acetification is a wine fault caused by aerobic bacteria of acetic fermentation when ethanol is oxidised to produce acetic acid. This process usually occurs to wine that has not been sulphurised enough, to low-alcohol wines and to wine stored in vessels that have not been topped up. It manifests itself with sharp, acetic smell and taste.

 

Sulfur compounds

The excessive amount of sulfur compounds is a wine fault caused probably by microorganisms, producing hydrogen sulfide or other sulfur compounds. It manifests itself with the smell of kale, onion or rotten eggs. If neglected by a winemaker, hydrogen sulfide may react with ethanol to produce irremovable mercaptans – the wine may have garlic smell then.

 

Mousiness

Mousiness is an irremovable wine fault caused by oxidation of young secondary fermented wine with low content of acids and sulfur dioxide. Such wine is cloudy and its taste is oxidative, scratchy and resembles mouse urine. Taste in mouth turns into unacceptable within several seconds.

 

Addition of water

The addition of water is regarded as wine adulteration. All authorized oenological (winery) procedures strictly forbid the addition of water.

 

Excessive amount of ethanol from added sugar

Legislation allows addition of sugar to the grape must to increase ethanol content in wine. Sugar changes to ethanol during fermentation. It may later be determined in a lab how much ethanol resulted from the fermentation of grape must and how much resulted from added sugar. The limit value of ethanol from added sugar is determined according to the wine region as follows: no more than 3 % of the total volume for the wine region Bohemia and no more than 2 % of the total volume for the wine region Moravia. The addition of sugar to grape must when producing quality wines with special attributes is forbidden.

 

Geographic origin

The geographic origin stated on the label must correspond to the area where the grapes have been grown. This is the basic precondition if a traditional expression is to be used in the name of wine, e.g. traditional expression "Regional Wine" means that "Wine has been produced from the grapes harvested in the Czech Republic". In the case of "ordinary" wines and wines with the name of a variety or year stated in the name that have been produced from foreign grapes in the Czech Republic, the origin shall be indicated on the label as follows: "made in the Czech Republic form grapes harvested in… (e.g. in Hungary)".

 

Opalescent appearance

Opalescent wine is wine with very fine lees particles visible when viewed against light – the wine is not clear. It appears in wines that are not stable enough.

 

Glycerol

Glycerol is a natural part of wine. It occurs as a byproduct of fermentation. The amount of glycerol depends on the type of yeast used and on the fermentation temperature. It gives a wine smoothness and fullness. Adding synthetic glycerol to wine is not permitted.

 

Citric acid

The maximum permissible amount of citric acid in wine is 1 mg/l. Wine naturally contains citric acid. Its excessive amount is a consequence of unauthorized oenological (so-called winery) practices.

 

Sulfur dioxide odour and taste

The smell of wine is acrid to irritative, suppressing the aroma of wine. The taste of wine is hard to metal.