A consumer rights group has called a fine imposed on the company behind a Listeria outbreak in Spain in 2019 an “insult” to those who died.

The sanction proposed by Seville Council on Magrudis of €2,000 ($2,330) was revealed by the Diario de Sevilla newspaper. It could have set a penalty of from €1,501 to €3,000 ($1,750 to $3,500).

Consumer group Facua said by not setting the maximum fine amount, Seville Council is sending the message that no matter how serious the irregularities committed in the food industry, it will not punish them with any force. Facua is also suing Magrudis for possible crimes against public health and is representing affected people in an attempt to claim compensation.

The fine was for a “very serious violation” of rules covering the license granted to the company, according to the newspaper.

Spain’s largest Listeria incident
The outbreak from “La Mecha” brand chilled roasted pork produced by Magrudis affected more than 200 people this past year, causing three deaths in elderly people and six pregnant women lost their babies. At the peak, 125 people were in hospital. The listeriosis alert started in mid-August and ended by mid-October.

It was reported by Spanish authorities to the World Health Organization, via the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) in August 2019. Investigations at the manufacturing premises by authorities in Spain isolated Listeria monocytogenes in other products commercialized under the same brand.

Seville Council formalized a complaint before the prosecutor’s office against Magrudis S.L in August 2019 and ordered permanent closure of the company.

The council set up a special commission in February this year to look at proposals to improve food safety controls in-house and in collaboration with the Junta de Andalucía.

Operation Monocy, led by the Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) with Europol’s support, led to the arrests of six people in late 2019 as part of an investigation into the outbreak.

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