Annual Report 200012/31/2000
- 1. Foreword
- 2. Inspection Objectives in 2000
- 3.1. Inspection Activities - General Overview
- 3.2. Inspection Activities - Inspection Results According to Individual Fields and Types of Analysis
- 3.3. Inspection Activities - Subject-oriented Inspections
- 3.4. Inspection Activities - Production Control
- 3.5. Inspection Activities - Retail Control
- 4. Complaints
- 5. Penalties
- 6. Laboratories
- 7. Certification
- 8. Foreign Relationships
- 9. Educational Projects
- 10. Participation in the Development of Legal Regulations
- 11. Cooperation with Other State Administration Bodies
- 12. Information for the Public
- 13. The Internet
- 14. Internal Information System
- 15. Conclusion
- 16. Abbreviations and explanations
In 2000, a relatively high number of subject-oriented inspections took place. These inspections were managed centrally by means of uniform methodical guidelines. Their purpose was to contribute to dealing with the wider and more complex issue of some food safety and quality areas. The inspections were undertaken either in the whole country or in selected regions only. In this section, some subject-oriented inspections are listed.
The scheduled microbiologic inspection was focused on food safety. It followed a similar type of inspection in 1999 and was applicable to the whole country throughout the whole year. It was focused on delicatessen products, pastry products, meat products for direct consumption, processed vegetables and fruit, and cheeses of different types. Laboratory analyses discovered 65 non-complying samples, most of them due to the excessive total number of microorganisms and coliform bacteria. Serious findings included Salmonella in "Mix Salad", and Listeria monocytogenes in chicken sausages.
In the course of centrally managed microbiological inspection in supermarkets, hygienic conditions of delicatessen and pastry sections in supermarkets were checked throughout the Czech Republic. During microbiological analyses, 21 delicatessen products were found not to conform, as well as 7 spice samples. No defects were found when checking delicatessen sections. The sections for selling bakery products were mostly satisfactory.
The inspection of spirit safety and quality(regarding vodka and domestic rum) focused on observing legal regulations by market stall sellers, particularly in border areas, in permanent stalls, and in food shops. Sixty-nine samples analysed did not comply with the applicable requirements. The violations found fell within the following areas: an amount of contaminants exceeding admissible limits (phthalates and urethane); occurrence of inadmissible contaminants (organic pollutants, such as acetaldehyde; benzene; toluene; ethylbenzene; and xylene); incorrect labelling; lower ethanol contents; and lower product volume than shown on the label.
Another event focused on food safety was the inspection of dry shell nuts and some types of fresh fruit. Its objective was to ascertain the safety and quality of some types of food traditionally sold at Christmas, the sale of which continued in January of the following year. If stored too long in non-complying conditions, these commodities were affected by growing moulds and fungi. Defects were found in 42 lots, a majority of them in coconuts: low-weight lots; and lots with a cracked shell or bad core (rotting; occurrence of moulds; pasty consistency) were put into circulation. Defects were also found in sweet chestnuts, where small, sprouting, pest-damaged, and mouldy nuts were put into circulation.
Following the 1999 outcome, the inspection of beer safety took place in 2000, focused on the content of biogenic amines. The priority was the inspection of special pale beers and pale lager beers and of special dark beers and dark lager beers. Both domestic and imported beers were sampled and analysed for the biogenic amines - histamine and tyramine. No breach of legal regulations was ascertained regarding the products monitored.
The inspection of dried fruit, vegetables, and mushroomsfocused on safety with regard to the content of additives and contaminants, in particular sulphur dioxide, sorbic acid, synthetic dyes, heavy metals, and aflatoxins. Ten samples did not comply with legal regulations. The following are examples of defects found: cadmium in excess of the admissible limit; nitrates in excess of the admissible limit; and the inadmissible presence of synthetic dyes.
The inspection of safety of instant noodle soups produced in Asia, focused on microbiological analyses and synthetic dyes identification, was instigated by the results of the inspections undertaken in the previous years. The inspection was particularly focused on importers where non-compliance with microbiological requirements was ascertained and the presence of inadmissible synthetic dyes was proven.
As with other foodstuffs, cases of 'adulteration' (deceptive marking) can also occur with instant coffee. In the framework of the instant coffee inspection, the CAFIA ascertained that this commodity was "adulterated" in some cases, for example, by adding chicory-based, malt-based, fig-based, or cereal-based products. The product adulterated in the above way is characteristic for its increased content of saccharides, which can be shown by a laboratory analysis. Based on the content of saccharides detected, the deceptive marking was proven with 8 samples.
Another inspection directed to unveiling deceit was the inspection of genuineness of potato varieties claimed. Its objective was to check whether the varieties of potatoes sold in the market network correspond to the varieties claimed, or whether they contain additions of other varieties. An inadmissible occurrence of other varieties being added, or claiming an incorrect variety, was detected in a total of 36 samples: there were 3 cases of a total confusion of varieties and 33 cases of potatoes of other varieties being added. Some samples even contained 5 other potato varieties added to the variety claimed. A relatively more frequent occurrence of the above defects was found with late consumer potatoes than with early ones.
The control of water activity (aw) and fat content in packed long-life meat products made by Czech producers was particularly focused on revealing deception. A water activity value lower than or equal to 0.93 is one of the key analytical criteria for a meat product to be declared long-life. During the inspection, 31 non-complying samples were found: 15 samples were due to higher water activity; 15 samples were due to a fat content different from that one shown on the package (or this information was completely missing); 1 sample was due to the higher water activity and fat content not corresponding to the information on the package.
The results of this inspection confirmed that some processors supply the market with "immature" long-life meat products, that is, with higher water activity than permitted by the Code of Practice. This not only entails deceiving of the consumer, but also an increased safety risk when consuming these so-called 'long-life' salamis. These products may, contrary to other meat products, be kept at a higher temperature and have a longer shelf life due to the low water activity, which prevents most pathogenic microorganisms from growing.
Another inspection focused on revealing deception was the meat adulteration in meat products. Its objective was to uncover substitution of individual types of meat in thermally processed meat products. This particularly involved substituting better quality, more expensive meat of a certain species with lower quality, cheaper meat of a different species. The inspection was carried out in large retail chains. The outcome of the inspection, when 7 non-conforming samples were detected, upheld the assumption that some producers substitute the types of meat indicated in the ingredients with meat of another species.
The centrally managed inspection of foods for a special diet focused on safety, labelling, and uncovering deceptive practicesat the same time. This inspection was carried out with producers, importers, and retailers and covered a wide range of commodities: müsli; flours; mashes; confectionery; soft drinks; processed fruit and vegetables; and others. No deceitful labelling or food-safety breach was detected. The defects found (in 127 cases) may have only been classified as incorrect or incomplete labelling; in unique cases, the valid certificate issued by the Chief Hygiene Officer (HEM) was missing. With regard to the fact that the inspection did not include, for example, special preparations with a high content of food supplements (vitamins; minerals; amino-acids), foods for sportsmen or people undergoing an increased physical strain, or foods for weight reduction, the CAFIA also plans to direct inspection activity in 2001 to products of this type.
With regard to the amended law on foodstuffs, which newly defines foodstuffs of a new type and stipulates obligations for them, the CAFIA undertook a monitoring of genetically modified foodstuffs. Its objective was to check whether such foods were put into circulation in the Czech Republic's retail network. Samples taken in September, October, and November were analysed in a renowned foreign laboratory in Switzerland. A total of 10 potentially genetically modified foodstuffs, containing soya or sweet corn, were sampled; four of them contained genetically modified DNA. The food samples (from the same lot) will serve as reference material for the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics of the CAFIA laboratory in Brno. The results will be used for inspection planning in the next period.