An audit in Chile has found there is no official sample system to verify compliance with European standards to control microbiological contamination in the food of non-animal origin.
For primary production, there is no risk-based system to address potential microbiological risks in produce for EU export and very little official verification of controls by processors and exporters, except the raspberry sector.
Most crops exported to the EU undergo no controls at primary production and very limited ones at the transformation level. However, risks are mitigated as processors and exporters are third-party certified against international food safety standards and receive inspections and audits from EU importers.
The audit took place in Chile from November 19 to 29, 2018. The team met with lab officials from the Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) of the Ministry of Agriculture, visited two blueberry and raspberry farms, one oregano farm and four processors packing and freezing vegetables and berries (fresh blueberries, frozen strawberries, and raspberries, frozen and blanched asparagus).
From 2008 to 2011 there was an increase in the numbers of reported outbreaks, cases, hospitalizations and deaths associated with food of non-animal origin while there was a decrease in the figures linked to food of animal origin.
Foodsafetynews.com cited 2017 Eurostat data, Chile was the seventh largest exporter of fresh and frozen fruits to the EU with 620,000 tons. Around a third of Chilean fruit, exports are shipped to the EU, according to SAG.