Spanish and Italian authorities have reported a number of different investigations uncovering unsafe food in the past week.
The Guardia Civil in Spain seized almost one ton of food not suitable for human consumption. Local units of Carabinieri Nucleo Antisofisticazioni e Sanità (NAS) in Italy detailed four investigations on foodstuffs including seizing and destroying certain products.
In Spain, the merchandise was detained after an inspection in a commercial establishment in Zaragoza. Products were expired, mislabeled or not stored correctly. The site was owned by a man of Chinese nationality.
A unit of the Guardia Civil and the Department of Health of the Government of Aragón were verifying the hygiene and sanitary conditions of food products for sale to the public during an inspection when the discovery was made.
Inside the premises, they found different food products including frozen meat, canned food, fish and manufactured items that were not suitable to eat. Deficiencies included inadequate labeling as it was not in Spanish, exceeding the expiration date or poor preservation of products.
More than 325,000 kilograms of frozen meats, some from the internal cold room, were expired or lacked labels so the origin was unknown.
Almost 130,000 kilograms of packaged frozen fish had an expiry date and consumption date that had been exceeded, with some showing organoleptic alterations due to the cold chain being broken.
Nearly 396,000 kilograms of packaged items, of different origin, had an expiration and date of consumption which were exceeded and 100 kilograms of products lacked the necessary labeling in Spanish.
After the merchandise was examined to verify it was not suitable for human consumption, it was removed from the establishment and destroyed. The 100 kilograms of products that were mislabeled were held until this was remedied and will be verified again by health authorities.
Meanwhile, in Italy, four police operations involving food have been reported in the last few days.
First, authorities in Padua (or Padova in Italian) seized 58 tons of frozen fish and meat.
Carabinieri NAS Padova, the coast guard of Venice and authorities from Vicenza took the action following an inspection. The value of seized assets amounts to €300,000 ($336,000).
During the control of a Venetian company, the firm was found to be without “EC” health recognition for the storage and marketing of food.
In another case, Carabinieri NAS in the Italian city of Latina discovered a food supplement factory without authorization.
Authorities performing a check at the supplement production plant found it was operating without the required authorization from the Ministry of Health.
After being informed by the NAS, authorities in Latina ordered the suspension of all production and sales of food supplements.
Carabinieri NAS Bologna referred two people to judicial authorities following an inspection at a food store.
The suspects are accused of selling foodstuffs labeled as Italian origin to customers even though it was produced abroad, of having marketed foods in a poor state and that had been altered and managing a site without tools to prevent a fire. Police seized eight tons of food in a poor condition for a total value of €1 million ($1.1 million).
Finally, the NAS of Pescara, after a joint inspection, reported the manager of a supermarket to judicial authorities.
Findings included beef, pork, sheep and meat products such as sausages that listed a different origin on the packaging than the actual one and 15 kilograms of cured meats and 35 kilograms of dairy products in a poor state of conservation as they were kept in a refrigerator that had too high a temperature.
The supermarket was ordered to suspend certain activities, animal by-products found were destroyed and items with incorrect labeling held. The value of foodstuffs is around €10,000 ($11,200).
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)