Risk management and risk communication of an illegal use of sulphites in meat preparations
ID Mičović, Elizabeta (Author), ID Mantovani, Alberto (Author), ID Jevšnik, Mojca (Author)

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This paper presents a case study on the management of a food fraud associated with health risks: the illegal use of sulphites in meat preparations and minced meat in Slovenia in 2019. The purpose is to highlight the shortcomings of existing systems for ensuring food safety in case of food frauds and highlight challenges for improvements. Sulphites are food additives but also have significant allergenic potential, hence they may cause serious reactions in sensitized consumers. Labelling of foods treated with sulphites is mandatory, and their use in meat and meat preparations in Europe is not allowed. However, certain food business operators may intentionally add sulphites into meat preparations to improve the sensory properties; besides being a food fraud, this exposes unaware consumers to health risks. The case started with the notification of an allergic-like reaction by a consumer following the consumption of a meat product. While the public authorities reacted by intensifying controls on markets and retailers, the analysis of risk management and risk communication aspects showed a number of shortcomings: slow response time; lack of recall of sulphite-treated meat products and of an in-depth risk assessment. The evaluation of this case study identified violations of food law regulations and consumer protection legislation. Effective risk management requires an interdisciplinary approach, integrating timely and targeted official control and risk communication throughout the food chain to protect consumers from unfair practices. Consistent, effective, and transparent communication among all actors who share responsibility in ensuring food safety is necessary to achieve improvements. This serious case of food fraud with actual risks to consumer health provided an opportunity for lessons to be learnt regarding managing health hazards from intervention to prevention.

Keywords:risk management, risk communication, food additives, sulphites, food fraud, consumer protection
Work type:Article
Typology:1.01 - Original Scientific Article
Organization:ZF - Faculty of Health Sciences
Publication status:Published
Publication version:Version of Record
Publication date:01.01.2023
Number of pages:Str. 23-39
Numbering:Vol. 16, no. 1
PID:20.500.12556/RUL-155049 This link opens in a new window
ISSN on article:1854-0678
DOI:10.2478/ijser-2023-0004 This link opens in a new window
COBISS.SI-ID:189251075 This link opens in a new window
Publication date in RUL:18.03.2024
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Record is a part of a journal

Title:Sanitarno inženirstvo
Publisher:Inštitut za sanitarno inženirstvo, Zbornica sanitarnih inženirjev Slovenije
COBISS.SI-ID:216969216 This link opens in a new window


License:CC BY 4.0, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Description:This is the standard Creative Commons license that gives others maximum freedom to do what they want with the work as long as they credit the author.
Licensing start date:15.03.2024

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