Law change may put stop to unfit food

Prefecture officials and consumer groups yesterday called for legislative changes that will help put a stop to food companies selling products that are unfit for consumption and threaten public health after authorities blocked more than 5,000 tons of bad food from being channeled into the market this year. Athens-Piraeus Prefect Fofi Yennimata said that prefecture teams will work with consumer groups in order to prepare a legislative proposal for the Development Ministry which, if adopted, will remove the temptation for companies to profit from food that has gone off. «We do not want to give the market or the economy a shock. We want to be able to carry out more checks and come up with fewer findings,» she said, adding that prefecture officials had seized 3,000 tons of unsuitable food products this year. Higher fines for violations of health and hygeine standards are expected to be on the recommendations list to be drawn up for the ministry. Consumer confidence in food items has been shaken recently after state inspection teams have been discovering large amounts of products that have gone bad and were about to hit the market. Authorities appear to have turned the issue into a public relations exercise as next year’s local council elections draw closer. In data released yesterday, the Agriculture Ministry announced that it had stopped 1,287,211 kilos of animal products from being imported into Greece that were not fit for consumption. Large amounts of products came from Asian, African and South American countries, the ministry added. The confiscated goods included more than 120,000 kilos of beef from Brazil and 48,000 kilos of frozen fish from China. Among the 887,945 kilos of vegetable products confiscated and destroyed by the ministry at customs points across the country, a large number came from Egypt, Thailand and China. In the latest food bulletin, Athens prefectural staff said yesterday that 5,400 kilos of frozen seafood had been confiscated from food company Roso Fishing Hellas due to its not being unfit for consumption.