Authorities in Portugal have seized several products in recent months because of breaches of legislation, including meat, food supplements, wine, and olive oil.
In July, the Food and Economic Safety Authority (ASAE) suspended operations at two sites handling snails. Through one of its regional units, officers conducted a surveillance operation to combat offenses against public health.
During the inspection, it was found that operators were illegally treating and shipping snails without the necessary license and approval from authorities. Concerns were also raised about guarantees around the elimination of parasites. The action resulted in the seizure of more than 500- kilograms (1,100 pounds) of snails, various documents, and other materials.
Fish, supplements, and meat
In June, ASAE targeted the traceability of fish and aquaculture products sold at retail. A total of 135 sites were inspected, and 12 offenses were noted, with the main violations being non-compliance with fish marketing rules, a lack of metrological control, and non-compliance with presentation or labeling requirements. Around 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of fresh fish and nine weighing instruments were seized.
In the same month, two regional units of the agency followed up a complaint by the National Authority of Medicines and Health Products (INFARMED) relating to food supplements.
In the Lisbon and Porto regions, more than 2,500 supplement units were seized, valued at €20,000 ($21,900). Issues included non-compliance with requirements around consumer information and unauthorized substances or ingredients. Two criminal and two administrative cases were opened.
ASAE’s Southern regional unit inspected a cold store that sold products to the public in the district of Portalegre at the end of May. It resulted in a file being opened for a crime against public health due to clandestine slaughter. Nearly 50 items were seized, with a total weight of 271 kilograms (597 pounds). After an examination by an official veterinarian, it was found that consumption of meat from these animals could pose a danger to public health.
Food distribution, wine, and oils
Also in May, authorities carried out an operation focused on transporting food. Work involved 160 inspectors and 51 locations in the country. They checked the hygienic and sanitary conditions of transport, temperature control, packaging and labeling of foodstuffs, and documentation.
Almost 2,500 operators were inspected, with three criminal cases filed covering topics such as Protected Designation of Origin in fruit and circulation of counterfeit products.
Thirty administrative cases were opened, with the main violations being the lack of hygienic conditions in the transport of foodstuffs, a lack of labeling, a missing fruit and vegetable operator number, placing on the market of products of animal origin by unregistered establishments, and transport of oysters in breach of the rules.
More than 23,000 kilograms (50,700 pounds) of foodstuffs were seized, including live bivalve mollusks, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, potatoes, meat products, and about 30 liters of wine.
Earlier this year, ASAE was part of an operation targeting the distribution and marketing of wine in the Bairrada region. Almost 11,000 bottles were confiscated from an operator due to labeling that misled the consumer. The total value of the seizure was close to €26,000 ($28,400).
Another inspection at a site in Coimbra found thousands of packages of different types of olive oil, which were ready to be introduced into the market but with labeling omitted or with unclear information, such as the company’s batch, date, and address. Over 11,300 liters of product were seized, valued at more than €40,000 ($43,800).
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