EFSA Issues Guidance on Date-Marking Additions
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued guidance with information advising food business operators on what information should be included on frozen food packaging. The guidance suggests when additional food-safety information should be included, such as a note to only thaw the necessary amount of food and to break up large pieces that have been frozen together inside the package. EFSA also notes that some products will have different shelf-life limits after the packaging has been opened because new pathogens could have been introduced.
“From a food safety point of view, freezing prevents the growth of pathogens. However, even though the concentration of pathogens may decrease over time, elimination is usually not complete during the freezing period depending on the pathogen and initial concentrations, the duration of the frozen storage and conditions during freezing/thawing. Pathogenic microorganisms that survive frozen storage can recover during thawing and may grow and/or produce toxins in the food during or after thawing if the pH, water activity and storage temperature support growth. Moreover, during the handling of thawed foods, additional contamination may occur from the hands, contact surfaces (e.g. utensils), or from other foods. Good practices for thawing should minimise contamination by pathogens between the food being thawed and other foods and/or contact surfaces when the food is removed from packaging during thawing, and limit conditions favourable to their growth.”