EU warned over Polish ‘industrial salt’ food safety prosecutions

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union

EU warned over Polish ‘industrial salt’ food safety prosecutions
Polish food safety authorities have put the European Union (EU) on alert after it initiated legal action against three companies that sold industrial salt as salt intended for human consumption.

The country’s Chief Sanitary Inspectorate (GIS) informed the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed earlier this month over concerns that food products had been contaminated with industrial salt, which is typically used to de-ice roads.

Polish and independent authorities are conducting tests on suspected contaminated products, but none have returned results that present a health risk.

Prosecuting authorities in the country are also investigating “over what time period the road salt was being put into the food products.”

The Czech Republic became the first EU country to issue a temporary ban on the import of edible salts from Poland.

“No present health risk”

“On 2 March 2011 the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate (GIS), informed the central EC  contact point (SANCO-RASFF TEAM) that the Public Prosecution Office in Poland have begun taking legal action, since 27 February, against three companies which had sold ‘industrial salt’ as salt intended for human consumption,”​ GIS spokesperson Jan Bondar told FoodProductionDaily.com.

Bondar added that all the contaminated salt products have been impounded and sample analysis is in progress.

GIS has also commissioned four independent sources of opinion in Poland. All four agreed that at the present time there is no health risk.

“This opinion was also sent to RASFF,”​ he said.

The Polish authorities – the Veterinary and Sanitary Inspectorates – will continue to prevent all products potentially contaminated with industrial entering the market until all analysis results from the samples have been collected.

“The Polish competent authorities will relay detailed information on actions undertaken and full details of the analytical results obtained from the products tested (performed by suitably accredited laboratories) to contact points for RASFF in European Commission – SANCO-RASFF TEAM,”​ added Bondar.

Czech Republic ban

In light of the prosecutions, authorities in the Czech Republic have prevented around 14 tonnes of Polish edible salts from entering the food supply.

It has promised to do this until it’s “wholesomeness”​ can be demonstrated, but added there currently no plans to extend measures against Poland-manufactured products.

“No [there are no further plans to ban imports] – a food import ban on products from Poland would only be possible if a direct threat to human health became apparent,”​ said Czech Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Jan Žáček.

“None of the analysed samples have shown any undesirable contamination and measured values match the observed legislation and declarations on the packaging. We currently have no news on the extent of the risk. If such information comes to light, then we will suggest measures to be applied by Brussels.”

“Supervisory authorities intend to pay special attention to the Polish control of potentially hazardous products – which at the moment are working well. Our minister Petr Bendl will address the Polish Minister to ask for future cooperation,”​ Žáček added.

Related topics: Policy, Food safety

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