Only about one in 10 food producers and/or retailers in Turkey have an official license issued by the state, which means that the vast majority are never inspected. Turkish street foodAccording to a recent media report, a survey called “Adulterated Foods” from the Turkish Agriculturists Association found that only about 40,000 of the estimated 400,000 food establishments in Turkey are licensed. And, since Turkish food safety inspectors only visit registered facilities, the survey noted that the vast majority of food establishments may be putting the public at risk. The association equated the death toll from foodborne and waterborne illnesses in Turkey with terrorism since the survey stated that more people are killed that way than from conventionally defined terrorism activities. In the first six months of this year, the survey found that inspectors made 335,000 visits to food facilities in Turkey and issued a total of about $9.2 million in fines to 5,375 of them. Criminal complaints were filed against another 49 food facilities, the group stated. Inspectors reported finding the following problems in Turkish food facilities: horse and donkey meat in supposedly beef sausages and meatballs, milk diluted with water, gelatin and yogurt diluted with vegetable oils, textile coloring used to dye candies, peas and peanuts painted green to resemble pistachios, wines diluted with water, and dried grapes covered with diesel fuel. A Turkish food industry official said that the government should hike legal sanctions to stop such companies trying to cut production costs by using unacceptable methods. “The companies in Europe are inspected less frequently, but the amount of fines for such violations are three times higher than in Turkey. Thus, businesses avoid engaging in fraudulent activities,” said Elif Attepe, factory director of Tatlises Food. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)