Eggs and meat among items seized by officials in Portugal
Portuguese authorities have confiscated 426,000 eggs and 10 tons of meat in different operations regarding food safety and security issues.
The Food and Economic Security Authority (ASAE) seized more than 426,000 eggs with an estimated value of around €33,600 ($38,000) during an inspection action aimed at egg grading and packing centers, in the municipality of Leiria.
The operation, in late January, followed an inspection by a local unit.
Officials stepped in alleging eggs were being placed on the market without the proper identification mark and with an absence of mandatory information on packages, such as the date of dispatch and quantity and a lack of daily records on the method of rearing.
European legislation means consumers must be informed about the country of origin of the product, conditions for raising the hens and best before date, which is no more than 28 days after the egg was laid, through a code printed on the packages and eggs.
ASAE was also involved in two inspections of cold stores in the Braga district and in Mondim de Basto this past month.
At the site in Mondim de Basto, about eight tons of products of animal origin were seized and the firm was suspended as it lacked a veterinary control number and a license. Various materials used to label the products were also removed by authorities. The overall estimated value of items blocked was €58,000 ($65,500).
In the cold store in Braga, 1.8 kilograms of foodstuffs of animal origin were seized because of issues with traceability and some had expired dates.
Officials also found the operator was changing the state of fresh and frozen products without the correct license.
Meanwhile, authorities have seized more than 110 kilograms of bivalves for non-compliance with the rules in the municipality of Setúbal.
The Republican National Guard (GNR) said that the capture and sale of bivalves, without documents on origin and being subjected to purification or hygiene control, can put public health at risk from possible contamination.
Officials found eight kilos of bivalves that were being sold by the side of the road in early February and identified a 45-year-old man who faces a maximum fine of €3,000 ($3,400).
They also discovered 112 kilograms of bivalves for sale in bulk at a commercial retail establishment. A 63-year-old man, the owner of the outlet, could face fines of up to €24,000 ($27,100).
Finally, almost 6,600 liters of brandy have been confiscated in an unapproved distillery in the municipality of Lousada.
The investigation, called Operation Cuba, had been going on for about six months and resulted in a search warrant being carried out in the unauthorized distillery and warehouse that were operating without customs control.
This meant the operators escaped their obligations when it came to declaring and payment of taxes and duties. Value of the seized brandy was €57,500 ($65,000). A 51-year-old man has been referred to the local court.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)