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Food Safety: Iceland needs to improve controls on traceability and the use of additives in products containing meat




Iceland needs to improve its control system on traceability and use of additives in food containing meat. This is the conclusion of an inspection carried out by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) in Iceland from 28 November to 7 December 2016.


The aim of the ESA mission was to verify that Icelandic control measures, which are the responsibility of the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) and Municipal Environmental and Public Health Offices (LCAs), are in compliance with EEA legislation. The mission team looked specifically at traceability, the use of additives and the labelling of meat and products containing meat.

Traceability means to track any ingredient through all stages of the food production chain. Traceability contributes to food safety together with correct use of additives and information to the consumer through labelling and other means.

ESA finds that whilst Iceland has a system of official controls, the system does not fully ensure that all relevant meat establishments have been accurately identified and subsequently approved.

To examine how the official controls work in practice, the ESA mission team visited ten food business operators. They generally had traceability systems in place or under development, but not all of them could ensure that all ingredients used in their production could be traced. The ESA team also found that there was a lack of detailed instructions and training for the MAST and LCA inspectors responsible for controls on traceability and labelling. This weakens the official controls.

Finally, an exercise for MAST and LCAs to trace samples taken from food stores was not conclusive for all products, as the documentation did not establish a link between the product and its ingredients in each step of the production chain.

ESA's report includes a number of recommendations to rectify shortcomings and enhance the control system in Iceland. Iceland has taken note of the shortcomings identified and has provided an action plan that addresses ESA's recommendations. The action plan is annexed to the final report and is currently being reviewed by ESA.

Read the full report here.

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Anne Vestbakke
Head of Communications
tel. +32 2 286 18 66
mob. +32 490 57 63 53

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