News

2019 m. December 03 d.
At the annual meeting organised by the Focal Point of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS) on 29 November, experts from different scientific, research and risk assessment institutions discussed their experiences of joint work with EFSA, cooperation possibilities and expectations. Representatives from the State Plant Service under the Ministry of Agriculture, Centre for Health Education and Disease Prevention, Veterinary Academy under Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Food Institute under Kaunas University of Technology, Vytautas Magnus University, SFVS and the National Food and Veterinary Risk Assessment Institute participated at the meeting. Giedrė Čiuberkytė, Head of the International Affairs Division of the SFVS and the Focal Point of EFSA in Lithuania made an overview of EFSA activities in the past year and presented pending plans and future tasks for specialists participating in different EFSA scientific networks. She encouraged representatives of Lithuanian scientific institutions to be more active in nominating their candidates who could participate in EFSA scientific working groups, presented the initiative “EU-FORA“, the programme “EFSA TRAINEE“, and young scientists engaged in risk assessment activities were invited to use those programmes to enhance their knowledge and contribute to ensuring food safety for millions of Europeans. She also pointed out a possibility to use the repository/platform “Knowledge Junction“ where our scientists and university students could find all the information required for food and feed safety risk assessment, etc., which had been pooled by the EFSA Member States. “EFSA has regularly invested into new programmes and data repository platforms that are aimed at increasing the effectiveness of operational processes to attract young scientists, to combine risk assessments performed by different countries. Apart from exchanging important information on EFSA activities, the focus is also on closer cooperation, more active communication between all institutions engaged in food safety”, – underlined G. Čiuberkytė. Rima Živatkauskaitė, Adviser of the International Affairs Division of the SFVS introduced the participants to Article 36 organisations working in Lithuania and pointed out that EFSA has big expectations in relation to the activities of the Focal Point in ensuring adequate cooperation of those organisations both within the country and with EFSA itself. Representatives of EFSA scientific networks who participated at the meeting presented the topics that are under discussion in their working groups, they shared experience of other countries, discussed problems and issues for which the assistance of the EFSA Focal Point in Lithuania is very valuable. The issues related to presentation of results of scientific research and risk assessment, improvement of communication with social partners arising on the EFSA and national levels were discussed. EFSA is an independent, science-oriented organisation, which was established in 2002. Expertise of more than 1500 scientific experts, their experience and decisions lie at the basis of activities of the organisation. EFSA scientific experts give advice on the issues of animal welfare and health, plant protection, they establish food safety standards. Another important EFSA activity is collection and analysis of scientific data, identification and regulation of emerging risks, scientific assistance to the European Commission.
2019 m. December 02 d.
On 28–19 November, at the session of the Baltic Assembly, the medal of the Baltic Assembly was handed to Darius Remeika, Director of the State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS). This award of particular significance was handed to the head of the SFVS for his active cooperation with officers of the competent veterinary authorities of Latvia and Estonia seeking to solve topical strategic food and veterinary issues. “The Baltic region is considered to be unique due to the responsible approach of all the three countries and their effective solutions in dealing with problems that arise. The invasion of African swine fever (ASF), which induces big economic losses for the pig production sector, is one of the priorities. All the three countries combating ASF follow common ASF strategy. Our close and active cooperation led to trust in the food and veterinary control institutions of all the Baltic countries both in the European Union (EU) and globally. The trust like this and predictability are particularly important for Lithuanian farmers and businessmen, for the entire national economy. Therefore, even in the presence of complicated situations that are, for example, related to ASF we are able to trade actively both in live pigs and pig meat products. Of course, our efforts to contain outbreaks of foodborne diseases and to preclude them in the future, application of advanced methods and solutions aimed at reining in food crises are equally important. The Baltic States actively cooperate in the fields of control over farm animal breeding, animal welfare and protection. We exchange information on issues of export to third countries, develop joint projects and arrange workshops for food and veterinary inspectors seeking to improve the performance of our authorities, their preparedness for emergencies or need to deal urgently with issues of interinstitutional or cross-border assistance”, – said head of the SFVS D. Remeika. At the moment of accepting the award, Director of the SFVS D. Remeika pointed out that this award was the merit of the entire staff of the SFVS and the sign of appreciation of its performance.  The Baltic Assembly was established in 1991 and comprises the parliaments of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Major activities of the organisation cover the foreign and security policy, human rights, cooperation in the fields of health, environment, culture and others, approximation of national and EU legislation. The Baltic States cooperate on different levels of regional formats: meetings of officers of competent authorities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are organised annually, regular meetings are arranged. The medal of the Baltic Assembly is awarded by decision of the Presidium of this organisation annually to politicians of the Baltic States, heads of the state or other persons for their merits in strengthening the solidarity of the Baltic States and their cooperation in individual sectors.
2019 m. November 14 d.
On 12–21 November, audit is being conducted at the State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS) by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety of South Korea, which is aimed at the assessment if milk processing establishments, which already export their production to this country, duly implement requirements. Audit like this is an important step in consolidating possibilities to export Lithuanian milk products to this county in Asia. Yesterday, at the SFVS, the foreign experts were presented the official food and veterinary control carried out in the milk sector of our country, applicable requirements and control standards. “To ensure the approval of Lithuanian establishments and permission for them to export their production to this extensive market of Asia, which has high payment capacity, substantial endeavours and efforts are required. This is for a few years already, that close relations with colleagues from South Korea have been maintained, sound foundations for the cooperation with competent veterinary authorities of this country have been laid. Their specialists have been recently learning in our country how to tackle African swine fever (ASF), which is spreading in Asia and has been for the first time identified in South Korea this year. Currently, possibilities to export Lithuanian poultry meat and its products are intensively discussed”,–commented Director of the SFVS Darius Remeika. At the time of audit, the specialists from South Korea will visit the establishments of AB “Pieno žvaigždės“: “Pasvalio sūrinė“, “Kauno pienas“ and „Mažeikių pieninė“. The experts will also observe the production processes at AB “Rokiškio sūris“ in Rokiškis, AB “Modest“ in Tauragė and UAB “Rokiškio pieno gamyba“ in Utena where they are going to assess the functioning of the food safety and control system practically. Milk and fishery products and pet food are already exported by Lithuanian producers to South Korea. Over 840 t of milk products (mostly cheeses, butter, curds, ice cream, etc.), nearly 22 t of fish and fishery products as well as perfood for dogs and cats (404 t) were exported to South Korea in 10 months this year.  
2019 m. November 14 d.
The State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS) reminds that as form 1-st November this year requirements for the levels of trans fatty acid isomers in foodstuffs come into force. Lithuania is one of the few countries in the EU, which will implement a restriction on trans fats in foodstuffs. The restriction adopted by Order No V-1202 of the Minister for Health of 23 October 2017 will apply for all foodstuffs placed on the market of Lithuania. It has been established that the level of trans fats unfavourable for human health in any foodstuffs – both produced in Lithuania and imported, available on retail and at catering establishments, must not exceed 2 g/100 g of the overall amount of fats. It has been proved by researchers that in the cases where the percentage of the energy intake in the form of trans fats exceeds 2 percent of the daily dietary energy intake the mortality rate from heart diseases increases by 20–30 per cent. Trans fats are the worst edible fats, they have no value for human body at all. The levels of trans fatty acid isomers specified in the above Order do not apply for foodstuffs where they occur naturally. Trans fatty acid isomers naturally occur in fats of ruminant animals (cows, goats, sheep) and in products therefrom. Higher levels of trans fats are allowed for low-fat foodstuffs where the overall amount of fats does not exceed 3 g/100 g. The restrictions are related to artificial (industrial) trans fats, which are produced in the process of partial hydrogenation of liquid fats. Partially hydrogenated fats, which are the key source of industrial trans fats, are used in the food industry because of their good technological properties (suitable texture, longer durability date, etc.) and sensory qualities, an attractive price. They are particularly used in pastry and bakery products, different glazes, fillings, fast food, margarine, etc. The use of partially hydrogenated fats in the food industry is not prohibited, however, they must be manufactured in such a way that the occurrence of trans fats hazardous to human health in amounts exceeding the allowed limits is precluded. “A decision on the regulation of trans fatty acid isomers was taken with consideration of the risk for human health, which is posed by their use, and of extensive use of these fats in the food industry. One has to remember that partially hydrogenated fats are normally present in the composition of foodstuffs, which are not referred to as basic ones (sweets, pastry, bakery products, fast food, etc.). Therefore, food manufacturers will have to replace fats, which are not useful in terms of health, by more healthy ones. We believe that, in the past two years, food industry businesses have had enough time to adjust their technological processes and formulations to ensure that the marketable appearance and taste of their products does not suffer as a result of the replacement of fats”,– commented Ilona Drulytė, Head of the Food Division of the SFVS.  
2019 m. October 16 d.
Food safety and quality as well as the assurance of all necessary conditions are one of the top priorities for Lithuania and the European Union countries. As a result, scientists, public health, food safety and veterinary specialists are working together to prevent foodborne outbreaks and are looking for cutting-edge ways and solutions to manage food crises. Lithuanian and foreign experts had the opportunity to share their experience, discuss the measures taken and the latest research results during the international conference at the beginning of October, in Vilnius. The main message of the conference participants, addressed to specialists in various fields, experts from national and international organizations and business representatives, has become a call for a closer cooperation in the development of preventive action plans and sharing of emerging crises data; coordination of laboratory and inter-institutional research activities; greater use of early warning systems in the European Union for the reporting of communicable disease outbreaks or food crises. The importance of coordinating food safety and the activities of public health specialists involved in the same incident was highlighted, giving the access to medical information on the cases of human illnesses for food safety authorities. At the conference, the insights on risk assessment for food crises were shared by Dr. Valentina Rizzi, Senior Scientific Officer, Unit on Biological Hazards and Contaminants (BIOCONTAM), EFSA. Mr. Martial Plantady, the representative of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, presented the General Plan for Food and Feed Safety Crisis Management and its challenges. The information on the latest research in pathogen diagnostics was shared by Prof. Dr. Rene S. Hendriksen from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The Latvian experience in investigating the outbreaks of foodborne diseases was also analysed. The most common causative agents, the main causes of outbreaks and methods of laboratory testing for food safety used by the National Food and Veterinary Risk Assessment Institute in Lithuania, the possibilities to control food safety were discussed. Good practices applied in Lithuanian business to prevent communicable diseases and other important issues were presented. "The insights and discussions provided by the experts only confirm that effective prevention of foodborne diseases and efficient management of emerging food crises require the participation of all responsible parties – food industry representatives, farmers, competent food and veterinary control bodies, consumer institutions, public health policy makers – involvement at national and international levels, focused efforts to find new and innovative solutions”, – emphasised Darius Remeika, the Director of the State Food and Veterinary Service, at the conference. You can find the conference presentations here: EU mechanisms for crisis management and preparedness in the field of the safety of food and feed | Mr. Martial Plantady Surveillance of infectious foodborne diseases in the EU | Dr. Johanna Takkinen, Dr. Therese Westrell  Assessment of multi-country foodborne outbreaks at EU level | Dr. Valentina Rizzi Whole genome sequencing: a new challenge in the diagnostics of pathogenic agents | Prof. Dr. Rene S. Hendriksen Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS): experience in foodborne outbreak investigations in Latvia | Prof. Dr. Aivars Bērziņš Laboratory analysis methods for food safety at the National Food and Veterinary Risk Assessment Institute (NFVRAI) | Ms. Snieguolė Ščeponavičienė Intersectorial cooperation during epidemiological investigation of foodborne diseases | Ms. Ginreta Valinčiūtė Good practice at UAB “Delano” as regards preventive measures for ensuring food safety | Ms. Akvilė Lekavičiūtė Good practice at Biovela Group as regards preventive measures for ensuring food safety | Ms. Žaneta Pisarskienė  

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2019 m. December 03 d.

At the annual meeting organised by the Focal Point of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS) on 29 November, experts from different scientific, research and risk assessment institutions discussed their experiences of joint work with EFSA, cooperation possibilities and expectations.

2019 m. December 02 d.

On 28–19 November, at the session of the Baltic Assembly, the medal of the Baltic Assembly was handed to Darius Remeika, Director of the State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS). This award of particular significance was handed to the head of the SFVS for his active cooperation with officers of the competent veterinary authorities of Latvia and Estonia seeking to solve topical strategic food and veterinary issues.

2019 m. November 14 d.

On 12–21 November, audit is being conducted at the State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS) by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety of South Korea, which is aimed at the assessment if milk processing establishments, which already export their production to this country, duly implement requirements. Audit like this is an important step in consolidating possibilities to export Lithuanian milk products to this county in Asia.

2019 m. November 14 d.

The State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS) reminds that as form 1-st November this year requirements for the levels of trans fatty acid isomers in foodstuffs come into force. Lithuania is one of the few countries in the EU, which will implement a restriction on trans fats in foodstuffs.

2019 m. October 16 d.

Food safety and quality as well as the assurance of all necessary conditions are one of the top priorities for Lithuania and the European Union countries. As a result, scientists, public health, food safety and veterinary specialists are working together to prevent foodborne outbreaks and are looking for cutting-edge ways and solutions to manage food crises.