Authorities in Portugal have carried out a series of recent operations to crackdown on businesses not complying with food rules.

The Food and Economic Security Authority (ASAE) helped to seize 500 kilograms of fish and meat products with limited traceability at a cold store facility this past month.

The inspection was to verify compliance with food storage and handling. Products were destroyed after being sent for analysis and criminal proceedings were opened.

A separate visit to a cold store in Porto resulted in 650 kilograms of meat products being blocked because of a lack of traceability. After analysis, 250 kilograms was destroyed but the other 400 kilograms was considered safe to be given to animals and was donated to a zoo.

Fishy findings
Another joint inspection in Quarteira looked at the sale of fresh fish on public roads. A total of 144 kilograms of different types of fish were confiscated because of concerns about temperature control, packaging and storage conditions. Six administrative proceedings were started for placing fishery products on the market without complying with the relevant rules.

Operation Mercados Municipais focused on fish and bivalve mollusks. More than 120 operators were checked and five were non-compliant because of labeling issues or a lack of information on products. Overall, 334 kilos of fish products were seized.

Also in August, ASAE officials uncovered an unlicensed slaughterhouse in Évora.

Animals were being slaughtered illegally at a site with poor hygiene conditions and they were not subject to the mandatory health checks to screen for diseases. Meat was then sold to a local establishment. Inspectors stopped operations at the unregistered slaughter site and seized 500 kilograms of meat products plus related equipment.

In Sines, two tons of fish were seized with some considered as unfit for human consumption and 305 kilograms were destroyed. The action resulted in two criminal proceedings and suspension of three fish processing plants. One person with a criminal record was also detained.

In Murtosa, one company was found to be receiving and forwarding live bivalve mollusks without documentation showing the date of harvest, identify of the producer and location of the production area. Overall, 700 kilograms of products were confiscated.

Fraud and other food products
Two inspections of event spaces in Seixal led to 1 ton of foodstuffs being seized including meat, fish, wine and vegetables as they were damaged, in a poor condition or had been incorrectly stored.

Surveillance of the fruit and vegetable sector resulted in 23 administrative offences being opened for reasons such as a lack of origin or variety information with the product. In total, 1,100-kilograms of fruit and vegetables were detained.

Operation Cereja looked at potential fraudulent practices and non-compliance in the cherry industry. Two criminal proceedings were opened and three administrative offences handed out. Overall, 880 kilograms of cherries and other fresh fruit and vegetables were seized.

A focus on honey authenticity and traceability led to 17.5 tons of products being blocked with an estimated value of €70,000 ($68,300). One establishment was suspended as it was not licensed for the activities it was carrying out.

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