Meat and eggs among items seized by authorities in Portugal

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 tonnes of foodstuffs of animal origin, mainly meat products, were seized for non-compliance with hygiene standards, lack of veterinary number issued by the Directorate General for Food and Veterinary Medicine (DGAV) and license. The total value of the products was €93,000 ($100,000).

After inspection of the products, approximately 3.1 tons were considered unfit for consumption as they were damaged, lacked traceability information or had exceeded their expiry date. The ASAE has also suspended food of animal origin activity in cold storage.

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

The lambs were slaughtered in an establishment not approved for such an activity and without adequate hygienic conditions. In addition, the animals were not subject to the mandatory checks to detect diseases. Authorities confiscated approximately 72,500 kilograms of meat, documentation and equipment. One person was also arrested.

Eggs, transport and fishing control
In mid-April, ASAE and regional units inspected egg grading and packing centers in Castelo Branco district and Guimarães.

Photo: ASAE. Discoveries in the egg operation

At Castelo Branco, officials found the eggs were missing information such as egg laying and expiry date. There was also a discrepancy between weekly readings and on-site inventory. More than 1.3 million eggs have been blocked and administrative procedures have been initiated.

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

More than four tonnes of food were seized in a separate operation targeting transport conditions.

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

The confiscated items included three tons of meat, approximately 1 ton of potatoes, frozen bread and 40 liters of sparkling wine.

Another inspection focused on the fish processing sector in the municipality of Ílhavo.

Nearly 56,500 kilograms of dried salt cod, destined for the commercial market, were seized with a value of more than €450,000 ($484,000), as they were deemed unsafe by authorities.

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

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