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Health risks for allergy sufferers: Fraud in hazelnut products uncovered


Peanut admixture: Fraud in hazelnut products
As the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) reports, it was possible to uncover in a global campaign against food fraud that manipulation of hazelnut products is common. This can have dangerous consequences for allergy sufferers.

Nut allergies can be dangerous
Health experts repeatedly point out not to underestimate food allergies. Nut allergies in particular are a major burden and can be fatal in extreme cases. However, it is known that sufferers do not always have to be allergic to all nuts. It is therefore all the worse if consumers cannot rely on which nuts are contained in the products they buy.

Profit for counterfeiters through cheaper raw materials
A message from the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) shows that this cannot be reliably relied on.

As part of a global campaign against food fraud, it was found in several cases that hazelnut products had been manipulated by adding peanuts, cashew nuts or almonds.

"Apparently small price differences in the raw materials become a profit for counterfeiters if the hazelnut product is partially replaced by a cheaper raw material," says the BVL announcement.

Cashew nuts, peanuts and almonds in hazelnut products
At the end of last year, 28 producers of hazelnut products were inspected over a period of six weeks, and 90 products were subjected to document controls or analytical investigations.

A further 15 products were checked at border entry points. The controls included a total of 545 tons of goods.

According to the BVL, the investigation offices found a peanut admixture of around eight percent in 1,300 kg of roasted chopped hazelnuts from Georgia. With 500 kg of hazelnut paste from Italy, proportions of up to 45 percent cashew nuts were found.

And another shipment of hazelnut paste from Italy found around 27 percent almonds. Due to the amount of the shares determined, an intentional addition should be assumed in all cases.

Immediate health hazard
Because the products pose an immediate health hazard if the allergy-causing peanuts and nuts are not labeled, the goods were withdrawn from the market.

In addition, information on the cases was forwarded via the European reporting systems RASFF (food security) and AAC (food fraud).

The question of where the manipulations were carried out is still open and will be pursued further. (ad)

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