Posted by: John Brace | 11th October 2019

Why did the Mersey Port Health Authority reject consignments of peanuts and soft drinks?

Why did the Mersey Port Health Authority reject consignments of peanuts and soft drinks?

                                          

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Mersey Port Health Committee (Liverpool City Council) 10th October 2019

Chris Lomas (right) Mersey Port Health Committee 10th October 2019

Chris Lomas (right) Mersey Port Health Committee 10th October 2019

The Mersey Port Health Committee (which has councillors from Wirral, Liverpool and Sefton on it and oversees the work of the Mersey Port Health Authority) met on Thursday afternoon in the West Reception Room at Liverpool Town Hall.

The meeting was mainly about the quarterly report (1st April 2019 to 30th June 2019) on enforcement work by the Mersey Port Health Authority as well as projects, training and promotional work. Usually Mercola Douglas (Chief Port Health Officer) talks and answers questions on the quarterly report, however she was absent and sent her apologies to the meeting as she was at a Brexit roundtable meeting organised by Sir Mark Sedwill (Cabinet Secretary) on the implications of Brexit. In her absence Chris Lomas (Assistant Director Environment) introduced and answered questions on the report.

Chris Lomas explained that the slight increase in sample re-charge costs was in relation to reinforced checks on shellfish from India. £10,000 in “Other Income” was in relation to a Food Standards Agency grant for Brexit related work.

One of the samples of food taken had been irregular and five deemed unsatisfactory. The main concern was four failures for soft drinks which failed on additives and colours. The failures were in relation to benzoic acid (a preservative which increases the shelf stability) but the levels found in consignments were higher than what is acceptable in the European Union. There was also a labelling irregularity on one of the soft drink consignments.

A consignment of peanuts was found to have high levels of aflatoxins (its usage was recategorised to animal feed) and a consignment of fish oil that didn’t have a health mark was re-exported back to the country of origin.

Two consignments were referred inland. One was of tea that was missing an organic certificate but was being sold as an organic product, the other consignment referred inland had been a surveillance sample of soft drinks that was found to have labelling irregularities and high levels of benzoic acid.

Officers of the Mersey Port Health Authority had also undertaken ship sanitation visits, boarding surveys and water sampling visits.

Chris Lomas took a number of questions from different councillors about the work of the Mersey Port Health Authority regarding the impact of Brexit on their work.

Another councillor raised her worry on the issue of consignments of peanuts from America failing testing. Chris Lomas answered that peanuts had been added to the European high risk food list, which meant that the import of American peanuts had been under official controls since the start of July. This would mean that health certificates and other documents would have to be shown on arriving at the port. A meeting with the Peanut Association had been arranged to show them what was going on.

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Responses

  1. Glad to see someones doing their jobs right, Well done the Port Authority staff

    • Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, it’s good to hear about the work of the Mersey Port Health Authority.


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