Fiordifrutta Blueberry Quality Assurance
20th Jan, 2014
OUR GUARANTEE OF QUALITY & SAFETY
Tokyo, 19 January 2013
Fiordifrutta is the leading brand of jam/fruit spread in Italy. It is an organic fruit spread produced by Rigoni di Asiago, a leading Italian organic food producer, and sold in many countries around the world. Fiordifrutta is imported into Japan by MIE PROJECT. In mid October, Fiordifrutta Wild Blueberry fruit spread (BBD 2015 October 17) was analysed at a Public Health Centre in Tokyo and found to have a Cesium content of 140 Beq/kg. This was over the Japanese legal limit of 100 Beq/kg. MIE PROJECT immediately implemented a product re-call. Although the Public Health Centre stated that there was absolutely no health risk whatsoever, we deeply regret having caused concern to our customers. Immediate steps were taken to identify the cause of the problem, and take all possible measures to prevent a recurrence, our objective being to ensure the highest levels of safety and reassurance to our customers.
2. THE CAUSE
The reason for the recall was that the measurement of 140Bq/kg of Cesium was above the Japanese legal standard of 100 Bq/kg, which had decreased from 500 Bq/kg in April 2012. The EU maximum limit for Cesium in general foodstuffs is 600 Bq/kg, and Rigoni di Asiago have been producing Fiordifrutta well within EU limits for radiation at all times. Unfortunately, they were unaware of the reduced Japanese limits.
It is well known that blueberries, along with mushrooms, more readily absorb radiation than other foods. Fiordifrutta Wild Blueberry is produced from wild blueberries coming from many different regions in Bulgaria. It seems that there are still isolated areas with higher levels of radiation. Nevertheless, had Rigoni di Asiago been aware of the new Japanese standards, they could have selected blueberries from only those regions where there is no/very low levels of radiation. This is what was arranged immediately after the problem was discovered.
3. ACTIONS TAKEN
The first action MIE PROJECT took was to inform all our customers of the re-call with details of the product and BBD and explain the reason for the re-call. We also immediately tested other batches of Fiordifrutta Wild Blueberry and other varieties of Fiordifrutta. Three separate production codes of Fiordifrutta Wild Blueberry had readings of 4.9 Bq/kg, 5.8 Bq/kg and 3.5 Bq/kg. To reassure customers of the safety of Fiordifrutta Wild Blueberry, we also analysed all the other varieties of Fiordifrutta. Berry Mix, which also contains blueberries, was found to have 7 Bq/kg, whilst all other nine varieties of Fiordifrutta were found to have no detectable level of radiation.
We have confirmed with Rigoni di Asiago that they will carefully manage future sourcing and production to ensure that only product which is MUCH LOWER than the Japanese legal requirement of 100 Bq/kg will be shipped to Japan from now on. In addition, we will do a back up analysis in Japan and only import and sell Fiordifrutta that meets a jointly agreed very strict INTERNAL COMPANY STANDARD, which is many times lower than the Japanese legal standard. This allows us to guarantee that Fiordifrutta Wild Blueberry will always be fully compliant with Japanese legal radiation limits, and allows you to enjoy the delicious taste of Fiordifrutta with complete assurance.
4. OUR GUARANTEE OF QUALITY & SAFETY
MIE PROJECT is committed to supplying the safest and best quality organic products to customers in Japan and will continue to take all possible measures to ensure the highest levels of quality, safety and reassurance to you.
We sincerely thank you for your understanding and support.
MIE PROJECT Co., Ltd.