Recent enforcement actions in Portugal have covered products including eggs, shellfish, meat, and oils.

The Food and Economic Safety Authority’s (ASAE) central regional unit recently inspected egg classification and packing centers in Leiria and Ansião.

Checks revealed that eggs, already packaged and ready for consumption, did not have all the necessary identification details, violating national and European regulations.

More than 112,500 eggs were seized with an estimated value of €15,000 ($16,400), and two administrative offense proceedings were opened.

Warehouse findings and illegal operator
Previously, ASAE’s southern unit removed 70 tons of food from cold storage warehouses worth about €250,000 ($273,500). Several inspections were carried out in December 2023 but work was only completed in February because of the high quantity of products found.

Three administrative offense proceedings were initiated because of the lack of licensing to carry out temperature-controlled storage for food products of animal origin and the lack of a Veterinary Control Number (NCV).

Three establishments in Silves, Portimão, and Lagoa/Parchal were suspended, and about 5 tons of food of animal origin, such as meat products, frozen fish, and dairy products, were seized.

One criminal case investigation was opened after officials searched a site in Loures and found 65 tons of foodstuffs, including frozen fish, shrimp, and octopus. Some products appeared to have been stored in poor storage conditions for at least five years with a lack of hygiene.

In February, almost 11 tons of food were discovered in an illegal establishment in Tondela.

Officers found that selling food products, such as fish, meat, and cheese, took place without the location having a veterinary control number. Operations involving products of animal origin that require temperature control were suspended. About 800 kilograms of products were found to be going moldy or had exceeded their expiration date.

Oil and mollusk checks
In January, nearly 30,000 liters of aguardente vínica, a distilled wine spirit, were seized.

ASAE’s southern unit and specialized wine product officers assessed the preparation, distribution, and marketing of aguardente vínica. Product worth more than €33,000 ($36,100) was taken from one operator, and a criminal case was filed.

Also, 50,000 liters of cooking oil were confiscated in January for misleading consumers in Operation Oleum. ASAE was part of a team that carried out several checks on retailers, stockers, and packers in the olive oil sector in several regions.

One inspection at a supplier and packer led to the seizure of 1,145 liters of cooking oil due to the lack of food labeling, and operations were suspended because of hygiene issues. In another case, almost 50,000 liters of cooking oil and 203,000 labels were uncovered, which misled the consumer regarding the product’s characteristics.

In another operation, ASAE’s southern unit blocked 4.5 tons of bivalve mollusks from the market in Palmela with a value of €23,000 ($25,100).

Officers found one operator was receiving bivalve mollusks from local shellfish harvesters without having the necessary license. Seafood was transported in vehicles with no accompanying registration or traceability documentation.

In a case involving stolen products, officials recovered 13 tons of olives valued at more than €16,000 ($17,500) at a site in Mourão. Olives came from several thefts throughout the Alentejo region. A criminal case was opened, and various documents were seized.

Finally, ASAE seized 6.6 tons of meat as part of the fight against clandestine slaughter in Loures, Mafra, and Lisbon.

Several search warrants were carried out in shops and domestic sites. Most meat products were goat carcasses worth about €58,000 ($63,500). Nearly €11,500 ($12,600) in cash was found, suspected of coming from the illicit activity. Two people were placed under investigation.

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