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Food Safety: Norway needs to improve controls on traceability, labelling and use of additives in products containing meat



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Norway's current control system on traceability and labelling of products containing meat, and on the use of additives in such products, is not sufficiently developed and implemented. This is the outcome of a report published by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) today, following an inspection carried out in Norway in October 2016.

PE2F4409Traceability means to track any food, raw materials and ingredients through all stages of the food production chain. It is a risk-management tool allowing food business operators and authorities to respond to potential food safety risks. Together with the correct use of additives and information to the consumer through labelling and other means it contributes to food safety.

The ESA mission resulted in three main conclusions. Firstly, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA) has developed a system of official controls with documented procedures and reporting of results. However, the ESA mission team found that the frequency of official controls is not systematically based on risk.

Secondly, the food business operators of ten visited establishments generally had traceability systems in place. However, the controls carried out by the NFSA only covered part of the requirements for traceability and labelling. The undetected deficiencies by the NFSA and the inconsistent implementation of official controls due to lack of detailed instructions and guidance, insufficient training and weak coordination, undermined the effectiveness of these controls.

Finally, an exercise for the NFSA to trace samples taken at retail were not conclusive, as the documentation did not establish a link between the product and its ingredients in each step of the production chain back to the slaughterhouse of origin.

ESA's report includes a number of recommendations to rectify shortcomings and enhance the control system in Norway. Norway 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.

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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