On the occasion of the upcoming Christmas holidays, the Carabinieri command for the protection of healthin concert with the Minister of Health, intensified controls on typical food products of the period.
The operation, planned at a national level, made it possible to inspect 882 companies operating in the production and commercial sector of traditional confectionery products and the fish supply chain, whose consumption shows a significant increase during the holiday period.
The investigations, extended to the phases of production, distribution and retail sale both at an artisanal and industrial level, revealed irregularities at 229 structures (equal to 26% of the controlled sites), which led to the contestation of over 530 criminal and administrative violations, for an amount of over 365 thousand euros in pecuniary sanctions.
In detail, 7.5 tons of confectionery products of various kinds were identified and seized. In particular, 1,775 panettone and pandoro have already been intercepted and taken away from consumption, partly sold as artisanal products when instead they were industrially produced and fraudulently repackaged, partly without labeling and traceability, with strong suspicion of similar illegal conduct.
This conduct led to the sanctioning of 37 managers for fraud in the trade and possession of panettone without indications of the actual origin, while a further 231 were charged with violations due to hygienic-sanitary deficiencies of the raw materials and pastry laboratories as well as for failure to apply preventive procedures of food safety. The inspection results also led to the issue of 16 orders for the closure/suspension of production and sales activities.
Also in the control of the fish products chain, traditionally consumed in religious precepts, 40% of non-regulatory outcomes were recorded, with simultaneous seizure, at wholesale and retail companies, as well as catering establishments, of 2.3 tons of fish, due to the lack of traceability of origin and irregularities in the methods of conservation of the catch, resulting in the suspension of the activity of 7 wholesalers and fishmongers due to hygienic and structural deficiencies.
Among the most significant situations ascertained by the NAS are highlighted:
200 kg of confectionery products intended for the holidays were seized from a pastry shop in the province of Asti, with an attached sales point.
The investigations made it possible to ascertain the purchase of these products from third parties, and the subsequent affixing of a false label certifying their own production. The owner of the structure has been referred to the Judicial Authority for attempted commercial fraud.
The lawyer in charge of a pastry shop in Cremona has been released in a state of freedom for having put up for sale panettone purchased from another producer and relabelled as its own artisan products. In the circumstance, 326 panettone were seized, for a commercial value of 5,000 euros.
The nose of Perugia
Seized 73 panettone and 21 nougat fraudulently labeled as home-made by a pastry shop in the province of Perugia, actually purchased from third parties. The two managers held responsible for attempted fraud on the market have been referred to the Judicial Authority. During the check, a further 120 kg of confectionery products of various kinds were also found and seized without labeling and documentation certifying their origin.
The manager of a pastry shop in Lamezia Terme (CZ) was released in a state of freedom for having put up for sale panettone purchased from another producer, relabeled as of his own production. Seized 110 panettone, for a commercial value of 3,000 euros. in any case, having assessed their suitability for consumption, the products were donated to charity to the pediatric wards of two hospitals and to a voluntary association for distribution to the needy.
A total of two tons of confectionery products typical of the Christmas holidays, semi-finished pastry products, gastronomy and various foods were seized, found during the checks carried out in two establishments attributable to an artisan production laboratory and a pastry bar, both in Naples. The foods were all without documentation certifying their origin and kept in a poor state of conservation. The Health Authority has ordered the immediate closure of the production laboratory as it is affected by serious hygienic-structural deficiencies.
Following the intervention of NAS a fresh pastry laboratory in Naples, the immediate closure of the same was ordered due to serious hygienic-structural deficiencies (widespread presence of cockroaches, cobwebs and dirt) with the seizure of 1,000 kg of confectionery and bakery products held in a poor state of conservation . The owner has been referred to the Judicial Authority for having also fraudulently used methane gas in the production activity through an illegal connection to the supplier’s network.
Controlled 24 activities in the market area of Porta Nolana, as a result of which 2 tons of fish products were seized, half of which in a poor state of conservation and a further 2 tons relating to vegetables and meat products without traceability. In addition, a fish market, 5 mini-markets and a restaurant were suspended, for various reasons, due to lack of authorizations and poor sanitary conditions (presence of cockroaches and cockroaches). High fines for a total of 42,000 euros
Suspended a confectionery production activity in the province of Caserta, which was found to be without authorization and affected by health and hygiene deficiencies. Seized 500 panettone without traceability for a total commercial value of 12,000 euros.
The immediate closure of a bar-pastry shop in the province of Pisa where, in the kitchen, the presence of a dead rodent and excrement scattered in several points of the pavement was found. The value of the inhibited structure corresponds to Euro 320,000.
Seized 100 kg of frozen fish products of different types, without documentation certifying the origin, found during a check carried out at a restaurant in the province of Latina.
Seized from a confectionery company in the province of Agrigento, and moreover stored in premises affected by serious hygienic-structural and authorization deficiencies, kg. 618 of confectionery products, intended for marketing, without documentation certifying the origin of the raw materials used, as well as 213 kg of similar foods with expired validity, for a total value of 14,000 euros.
In relation to the description of specific interventions carried out by the NAS in this press release, the persons referred to the judicial authority are to be considered presumed innocent until a definitive finding of guilt in a subsequent trial.