Italy: hundreds of products prepared with flour contaminated with mustard
In Italy, some supermarkets affix signs to warn customers about the risk of buying pasta, bread and baked goods prepared with flours contaminated with mustard seeds.
The problem is serious, as mustard is an allergen and, as such, when it is present (even accidentally) in a product, it must be indicated on the label. The problem is aggravated by the fact that wheat flour is used in a wide range of food products (eg. pasta, bread, pastry), therefore there are many contaminated food products on the market that display no warning for consumers.
The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed issued a report about the presence on the market of wheat 'heavily contaminated' with mustard. The note specifies that the issue mainly concerns the wheat harvested in Italy in 2021.
The other unsolved problem is that, currently, in Italy, there are no official reference methods available for the analytical detection of mustard in food. Laboratories employ imprecise systems that can give false positives. The Ministry of Health is now working to identify, within a few months, an accredited methodology capable of increasing the sensitivity and precision of the analysis methods.