Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos says the European alert by Italian authorities on Romanian sheep milk products was wrongful. In a press conference in Alba Iulia on Monday, he announced that he has demanded explanations.
“We’re not talking about the whole [Romanian dairy] production. I have requested as early as Friday the clarification of this situation with the European Commission, as regards the alert by Italians; I understood the problem was there. It was a wrongful alert by Italian authorities, which firstly mentioned sheep milk, not cow milk, and moreover, I understand – and the agriculture minister [editor’s note – Achim Irimescu] can confirm, because it is him I asked to clarify the situation with the European Commission – that in this alert system, the authorities of member states are the ones to introduce alert elements. The Commission just centralizes them and conveys them to all the member states of the common market. I understand that the alert mentioned precisely the products of Bradet [dairy company], not other products. The communication from the Commission was too general, and I have asked explanations. From my point of view, the things are clear. The alert wrongfully mentioned, at first, sheep milk products, then I understand it has been corrected by cow milk, and not on a national level, for all Romanian products, but [just] for the products actually identified,” Ciolos said.
“This is my position, and if things happen to be different, I have transmitted to the European Commission, through our representation in Brussels, that if these things are not clarified, I will have a very clear position. I cannot accept such errors, which have an impact on the agrifood economy – and I know exactly what I’m talking about,” said Ciolos, a former European Commissioner for agriculture.
ANSVSA: Product notified by Italian authorities not made of sheep milk
The product the Italian authorities notified on with the European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASSF) concerning contamination with shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli was not made of sheep milk, but of cow milk, as they admitted that by mistake they mentioned a cheese assortment coming from SC Bradet, the Romanian Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety National Authority (ANSVSA) announced in a press release on Saturday.
According to the cited source, “the alert notification, modified on March 18 and posted by the Italian authorities only in the RASFF section available to the relevant authorities of the member states, includes an analysis bulletin, issued on March 17, 2016, which doesn’t mention information such as: the name of the producer, the exact product assortment, the batch number, the production date, the expiration date.”
A notification from Italy dated March 16, 2016, has been registered with the European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASSF) concerning contamination with shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli in sheep milk cheese from Romania. The notification is classified as alert.
Italy sent this notification after a 14-month old infant was hospitalised in Florence, Italy, with a possible case of hemolytic-uremic syndrome, caused by the E-coli bacteria, possibly after having eaten cheese coming from Romania, from SC Bradet, according to the local sanitary authorities.
The products which allegedly caused the child’s illness is said to have been bought from one of the stores selling Romanian products in the Tuscany region.
Several children of Romania’s Arges County – home of Lactate Bradet – were diagnosed with HUS in the past two months. Some of them were treated in the Marie Curie Hospital of Bucharest; three of them died.