Operation finds violations in Spanish food transport sector

Operation finds violations in Spanish food transport sector

by Sue Jones
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Spanish authorities have uncovered the transport of non-food products in food-grade containers without the proper cleaning.

The Guardia Civil reported it was investigating 10 people as part of Operation Duel relating to the illegal transport of food.

Checks were carried out on roads and at vehicle washing centers. Trucks equipped with food-grade tanks were used and found to contain animal waste products or fuel.

Officials have done more than 700 controls and nearly 400 inspections of companies linked to the transport of food in tanks. Any potentially contaminated food was destroyed.

Cost saving goal
In early 2021, the Guardia Civil and Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) uncovered irregularities by some transport companies, who did not offer guarantees for the correct transport of food, which could lead to a potential risk to public health.

Trucks equipped to transport food used return trips to distribute other non-food products, such as animal feed and fuels, without the necessary washing of the tanks. This was done to lower costs, according to the authorities.

Those behind the plan are alleged to have removed stickers indicating the load was exclusively for food products to avoid inspections by the authorities.

In Almeria, eight people have been arrested for an alleged crime against public health and of document falsification. Contents of a tanker containing raw goat milk were blocked because of a lack of hygiene and sanitary conditions.

In Lerida, the person in charge of a transport firm was investigated for falsifying washing documents of tanker trucks used to transport non-food products. An investigation found the company had been transporting all types of non-food products in trucks exclusively for food use.

In Valladolid, one person has been investigated for an alleged crime of falsifying documents and of collecting, transporting and disposing of hazardous waste. They are believed to have moved by-products of animal origin not intended for human consumption.

Official controls report
Meanwhile, AESAN has published the report on official controls for 2020.

The COVID-19 outbreak meant inspections of food establishments were reduced in the initial pandemic period but progressively activities were restarted.

More than 600,000 food establishments are registered and subject to controls. Nearly 490,000 inspections and audits were carried out to ensure firms followed the regulations, with a result of 80.7 percent in compliance.

Official controls covering primary production and food quality are handled by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), those in food establishments by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and controls on imported food products by the Ministry of Health. It is the final annual report of the five year plan with a new strategy applying from 2021 to 2025.

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