In Italy almost one food alarm broke out a day for a total of 297 notifications sent to the European Union during 2020.
This is what emerges from an analysis by Coldiretti based on the elaborations of the Rapid Alert System (Rassf), disseminated on the occasion of the UN World Food Health Day, promoted by FAO and WHO at planetarium on 7 June to remember that every year about 600 millions of people get sick after eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites and chemicals.
“An emergency – underlines Coldiretti – which does not only concern developing countries but which, due to the effect of the globalization of trade and the competition to reduce prices, also extends to the richest ones”.
“The greatest dangers for Italy – he continues – came from the Spanish fish with high mercury content and from the French fish for the infestation of the parasite Anisakis, but on the podium of the risk there are also materials in contact with food (Moca ), for which there is the transfer of substances that are very dangerous for the health of the consumer (chromium, nickel, manganese, formaldehyde etc.), in particular for those imported from China “.
“On the food black list – he specifies – there are also pistachios from Turkey contaminated by aflatoxins, peanuts from Egypt for the high content of carcinogenic aflatoxins, also present in pistachios from the United States”.
In Italy, out of the total of 297 alarms that occurred in 2020, only 51 (17%) concerned products with national origin, 146 came from other European Union states (49%) and 100 from non-EU countries (34%). In other words, over eight out of ten products dangerous for food safety come from abroad (83%).
A confirmation comes from the fact that foreign foods and drinks are six times more dangerous than those Made in Italy with the number of non-EU agri-food products with irregular chemical residues which was equal to 5.6% compared to the EU average of 1, 3% and just 0.9% of Italy, according to Coldiretti’s analysis of Efsa data which thoroughly analyzed 96,302 samples of food on sale in the European Union providing a cross-section of the presence of pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables , cereals, milk and wine produced within EU countries or from abroad.
In this context, in the event of a food alarm, the greatest concerns are precisely determined by the difficulty of quickly tracing the products at risk to remove them from the market, generating a decline in confidence that causes a general cut in consumption and which has often unjustly put entire sectors in difficulty. economic, with the loss of jobs.
For this reason it is also necessary to advance along the path for transparency on the obligation to indicate the origin of the foods on the label which thanks to the battles of Coldiretti has now reached 4/5 of the expense (from meat to milk, from fresh fruit and vegetables to tomato preserves , from cheeses to cured meats) even if it is not yet possible to know the origin for products such as fruit transformed into juices and jams, canned vegetables and legumes or sugar.
“Italian agriculture is first in Europe for added value but it is also the greenest and can count – reports Coldiretti – on the undisputed leadership for food quality with 314 Dop / Igp / Stg specialties, including great cheeses, cured meats and hams, recognized at community level and 415 Doc / Docg wines, 5266 traditional regional products surveyed along the Peninsula, leadership in the organic sector with about 80 thousand organic operators. And Italy is also a leader in biodiversity but can also count on the largest direct sales network of farmers in the world thanks to the Campagna Amica Foundation which has always continued to guarantee healthy, genuine and zero-kilometer products to the population ”.
“It is necessary that all products that enter national and European borders comply with the same criteria, ensuring that behind the food, Italian and foreign, for sale on the shelves there is a similar quality path concerning the environment, work and health ”affirms the president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini in commenting on the results of the Efsa survey. Reciprocity is needed as highlighted in a recent ruling by the Court of Auditors which highlights the failure to comply with the same EU safety standards on pesticide residues in foods from outside the EU.