Portuguese authorities have confiscated tons of meat products and millions of eggs in recent operations.

The Food and Economic Security Authority (ASAE) carried out an inspection of cold stores in the municipalities of Vila Verde, Vila Nova de Famalicão and Braga.

More than 33 tons of foodstuffs of animal origin, mostly meat products, were seized for failing to comply with hygiene standards, the lack of a veterinary number given by the Directorate-General for Food and Veterinary Medicine (DGAV) and of a license. The total value of products was €93,000 ($100,000).

After inspecting the products, around 3.1 tons was considered unfit for consumption as they were damaged, lacked traceability information or had past their shelf life date. ASAE also suspended the activity for food of animal origin at the cold stores.

An earlier operation uncovered the illegal slaughter of animals in Évora.

Lambs were slaughtered in a setting not licensed for such an activity, and without adequate hygiene conditions. Plus, animals were not subject to mandatory checks to screen for diseases. Authorities confiscated about 72,500-kilograms of meat, documentation and equipment. One person was also arrested.

Eggs, transport and fishery checks
In mid-April, ASAE and regional units inspected egg classification and packing centers in the district of Castelo Branco and in Guimarães.

Picture: ASAE. Findings in the egg operation

In Castelo Branco, officials found eggs were missing information such as laying and shelf life date. There was also a discrepancy between the weekly records and the stocks on site. More than 1.3 million eggs were blocked and administrative proceedings were started.

In Guimarães, almost 17,000 eggs were seized due to identification issues and a lack of traceability.

More than four tons of food was seized in a separate operation targeting transport conditions.

Hygienic conditions of transport, temperature control, packaging and labeling of foodstuffs, and accompanying documentation were checked.

Items confiscated included three tons of meat, about 1 ton of potatoes, frozen bread and 40 liters of sparkling wine.

Another inspection looked at the fish processing sector in the municipality of Ílhavo.

Almost 56,500-kilograms of dried salted cod, destined for the commercial market, was seized with a value of above €450,000 ($484,000), as they were judged by authorities to be unsafe.

Inspectors found the operator acquired the cod while frozen but there were problems with the drying and salting process, deficient implementation of the HACCP system and a lack of analyzes or proof of compliance with microbiological and chemical criteria.

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