Closer eye on meat imports

In the wake of a suspected case of large quantities of foreign meat being sold in Greece as locally produced, the government yesterday said it would set up a body to police the importation and distribution of farm products in Greece. The Agricultural Development and Food Ministry said the watchdog would be made up of representatives from the ministry itself, the Finance Ministry’s fraud squad (SDOE), the police and the Development Ministry. SDOE, in conjunction with the Agricultural Development Ministry, has completed an investigation into a nationwide network that allegedly imported lambs and goats from Romania and Bulgaria, which were then slaughtered and sold as Greek, complete with the state’s blue stamp. Locally produced meat commands a higher price than foreign imports. The ministry says that 80 percent of the 650,000 lambs and goats imported annually from these two countries were sold as Greek, with the help of veterinarians, importers and traders. The case will now be referred to the prosecutor.