Spanish authorities have issued a warning about pizzas and pizza bases made in a municipality of Zaragoza and sold online due to potential food safety concerns.
The Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) said there are no illnesses associated with the alert.
Health authorities in the region of Aragon informed AESAN of the issue through the Coordinated System for the Rapid Exchange of Information (SCIRI).
Pizzas were sold via an online sales channel, which according to information on the website cited by authorities, had eight workers in Spain. The website where pizzas were sold has been taken offline and products withdrawn.
Hygiene and document issues
The case was brought to the attention of the Environmental Protection Service (SEPRONA) of the Civil Guard (Guardia Civil). The Zaragoza unit has found pizza bases and finished pizzas were manufactured in a house in Azuara and marketed on the Internet and via mobile phones. Sales to 50 commercial establishments in 22 Spanish provinces have been proven.
Authorities found a lack of documentation to prove origin of products and issues with hygiene where the food was made, meaning it could pose a risk to public health.
SEPRONA identified the owner of the house and verified his wife was listed as commercial director. Investigations are ongoing but a 46-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman of Argentine nationality were arrested.
Distribution of some shipments between January and February this year, totaling 12,000 kilograms, were also found to have taken place in vehicles that did not have correct temperature conditions.
The Aragon Food Safety and Environmental Health Service became aware of the issue during an inspection. AESAN verified the website did not meet the requirements in place for e-commerce around food.
An investigation identified the workshop where pizzas were thought to have been made. A search found a large oven, a kneading device, two vacuum packing machines, two freezers, four refrigerators, labeling rolls, pizza packaging bags, isothermal bags for transport, raw materials and computer equipment.
It was a private home that did not have the mandatory registration and inspectors found serious hygienic and sanitary deficiencies meaning the safety of products could not be guaranteed. Authorities suspended food production activities and declared items found were unfit to eat.
The SEPRONA of Zaragoza has been able to put together a list of establishments where food was sent. Commercialization of products was through catering and hospitality establishments, hotels, pizzerias, campsites and by individuals.
Affected provinces are Alicante, Asturias, Almeria, Barcelona, Burgos, Cádiz, Castellón, Girona, Guadalajara, Huesca, Jaén, Lleida, Madrid, Málaga, Murcia, Navarra, Salamanca, Soria, Teruel, Valencia, Zamora and Zaragoza.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)