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This news article was originally written in Spanish. It has been automatically translated for your convenience. Reasonable efforts have been made to provide an accurate translation, however, no automated translation is perfect nor is it intended to replace a human translator. The original article in Spanish can be viewed at Entrevista a Ana Canals, vocal de AESAN
“These situations come by not using as it owes the distinct tools that the community regulations in matter of alimentary hygiene establish”

Interview to Ana Canals, vowel of AESAN

David Pozo30/05/2012
Recently more than a year the Spanish alimentary industry lived convulsionada by the badly called 'crisis of the cucumber'. We have wanted to know of the hand of Ana Canals, vowel of the Spanish Agency of Alimentary hygiene and Nutrition (AESAN), until which point that episode of alimentary crisis has served to reinforce the trazabilidad, already of by himself consistent, of our products and elaborate new protocols that serve to follow politics of performance unified in front of situations like which lived with the crisis of the And. coli.
Ana Canals, vowel of AESAN.

The hygiene of the horticultural products Spaniards put in entredicho does a year and this when it is showed that from Spain has worked acutely in the last years to create a perfectly controlled chain from origin to destination. Why they follow occurring this type of situations?

Although in Europe have reached some levels of alimentary hygiene that they are the best to world-wide level the apparition of a crisis never can be descartada. We have to take into account that in Spain did not have any real alert by grave risk in the public health, the shoot of And. coli Restricted to Germany and to a small shoot in France, all with the same origin.

Many times these situations come by not using as it owes the distinct tools that the regulations comunitarios in matter of alimentary hygiene establish. Between them it is the Network of alimentary Alerts that guarantees that the foods that can represent a risk for the health are withdrawn immediately of the market. In the case of the shoot of the And. coli German initiated and carried out all the procedure of alerts, as it could not be of another form, when initiating the German government two alerts with origin of products in Spain, without being established of irrefutable form that went Spanish products the causantes of the shoot. This originated an alimentary crisis with grave consequences, so much for the sector hortofrutícola Spanish as of public health when delaying the identification of the origin in Germany.

Neither used the suitable procedures of communication of the risk, as the one who have in Spain, that guarantee an only speaker in cases of alimentary alerts and a flow of clear information with the aim of not alarming unnecessarily to the consumer.

In the past National Congress of Horticultural Sciences you realised a report on how the alimentary crises can be the detonante of improvements in the control of product. It thinks that what became the past year with the And. coli Has done to increase the controls of the horticultural products that circulate in the EU and also those that matter ?

Of course, all the alimentary crises have helped to ‘fine-tune' of some form the system. The crisis of the called ‘crazy cows' served to seat the bases of the current legislation in alimentary hygiene in Europe and this recent crisis will result in a more reinforced system. But it is necessary to take into account that to the margin of these crises that jump to the public knowledge by his repercussions, the Commission in group with all the States members, works daily in improving the system, well marking new legislation or controls or cancelling those that evaluate like unnecessary to guarantee the hygiene of the foods, but without hindering the world-wide market of foods.
Photo: Chris Johnson.

Splitting of the base that what occurred the past year was an error of precipitation, somebody can ensure to the Spanish producers that a similar situation can not repeat morning?

Part of the problem resided in initiating some alimentary alerts in the Network of European Alerts (RASFF) without sufficient base in the analysis of laboratory of the samples. In one of the alerts initiated could not confirm the result in the national laboratory of German reference and the another alert treated of a serotipo distinct to the causante of the shoot. In this appearance in the actuality is working in the groups of the commission in some ‘Guides' of performance of the RASFF that will serve so that the performances of all the countries that compose the network was much more harmonised.
“The trazabilidad is an essential tool inside the alimentary hygiene, but besides is an obligation for all the economic operators”

You informed that in these moments is working in a modification of the regulation, that would affect to the permission of establishments, trazabilidad, microbiological criteria and to the import. In which point find these works?

it is working In four projects of regulations that affect to the shoots germinated that cover from the permission of establishments, the trazabilidad, the analyses of laboratories required for the seeds or the water of irrigation, and the requirements in the control that have to realise the importing companies of seeds. The Permanent Group of Hygiene commissioned has very advanced all these works looking for the consensus of the States Members, but still have not been approved by the Permanent Committee of the Alimentary Chain and Animal Health. When this carry out in the weeks to come will have stepped very important to avoid that something like this go back to occur.

The horticultural producer Spanish is conscious of the importance that supposes that this chain of the trazabilidad, that goes from the field to the supermarket, can not ‘relax' in any moment?

The trazabilidad is an essential tool inside the alimentary hygiene, but besides is an obligation for all the economic operators that establishes in the Regulation mark in Hygiene, Regulation (CE) 852/2004. It is necessary to take into account besides that the trazabilidad no only serves to locate, inmovilizar and withdraw of effective and selective form foods and piensos with risk in the management of the alimentary alerts, but it also allows the control of the stocks; help to the certification of quality of the products; it facilitates the official controls and the communication of the risk, increasing the confidence of the consumers.

From Spain is working in the improvement of the protocols to communicate the risk and guarantee performances homogéneas in the alerts to European level. With which European mates explain in this career?

The AESAN participates in the group of Communication of the European Authority of Alimentary hygiene that works precisely in these subjects. In said group are all the States Members and this working in the manufacturing of a guide of communication for the subject of possible alimentary risks. The communication is a subject prioritario when being the sector of the so sensitive feeding to the public opinion.

What work is realising from AESAN specifically in the horticultural sector?

The Agency works of form continued in the distinct areas of possible risks, so many chemists like biological. No only in the management of the alimentary risks, but also in the one of the evaluation of the same and in the strategies of communication. It works in the breast of the groups of work of the commission in the manufacturing of normative key for this sector that covers from the pesticidas to the control of pathogenic microorganisms like the And. coli. The scientific committee of the AESAN evaluates the risks and in this sense is in this moment finalising a report of the committee on recommendations to avoid shoots like the become in Germany. And we can not forget, given the damage that did him to the sector hortofrutícola, that one of the most important appearances inside the area of the alimentary hygiene is the establish good guidelines of communication, basic for the management of the alimentary crises.