Huge fine for moldy yogurt

One of Greece’s largest dairy food companies, FAGE, was fined half a million euros yesterday for not immediately alerting the public to cartons of moldy yogurt in stores. The Hellenic Food Authority (EFET), the country’s food safety watchdog group, recommended the 500,000-euro fine. Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou then approved it, ruling that FAGE had not told consumers and authorities about its bad yogurt right away and had not withdrawn all the cartons from the suspect batch. As a result, some of the yogurt reached consumers. In a statement, the ministry said the dairy giant had also given false assurances that the problem was under control. The food authority also said FAGE withdrew 850,000 tubs of yogurt from the domestic and international market in February and March without informing anyone. Two senior members of the food authority resigned at the end of March when it emerged they had also not promptly informed the government about the yogurt. FAGE attributed the problem, which made the yogurt turn moldy before the expiry date, to a fault with its production line. Meanwhile, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas yesterday appointed a committee that will investigate why it took authorities over a year to inform consumers about a brand of steam iron deemed to be the cause of at least two electrocution deaths last year. The Chinese-made, 1,800-watt Perla steam iron was responsible for the death of a housewife and an engineer. The committee has also been handed the task of coming up with recommendations by June 15 about any extra measures that need to be taken to ensure that electrical goods sold in Greece meet all the necessary EU safety requirements.

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