Augenakis: Fines of EUR 130,000 in 12 companies after checks

At a fast pace, retail outlets and entrance gates continue. As announced by the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, the results of these supermarket controls are the imposition of fines on 12 companies, while 300 more have been awarded recommendations before the imposition of fines. Also, in March, fines are expected to be awarded to another 16 companies. Minister for Rural Development and Food, Lefteris Avgenakis in a statement noted that “the results are already visible, both at the level of controls of milk and milk products and at the level of fruit and vegetables, honey, oil and shortly after and meat. Controls that have already produced results visible, but the effort continues and one thing is certain” adding that “no interest can stand in the way of this effort that has been organized and will continue. To protect consumers, to put order on the market and of course to strengthen domestic producers.” To date, controls have focused on milk and PDO products produced by it, but also on product labels, i.e. whether the content is consistent with the indicated ones and whether the labelling that has complied with national and Union legislation. Samples of products are taken and sent for examination to the laboratories of the General Chemistry of the State and ELGO – DIMITRA, depending on the type of examination to be carried out. According to the announcement of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, from 18 January to 3 March, at the retail points in Athens, Thessaloniki, Larissa, Patras, Volos, Ioannina, 84 checks have been carried out from where 175 samples have been sent for analysis, 103 of which have been sent for laboratory analysis at the GCC and 72 at the laboratories of ELGO DIMITRA. For label marking 267 samples have been collected and sent to EPET (32 for FET, 113, other cheeses, 51 milk, 64 yoghurt, 3 Ariane, 3 Kefir and 1 cream) and 30 to ELGO – DIMITRA (7 FETA, 16 for yellow cheeses, 3 for milk, 1 for yogurt dessert, 1 for yogurt and 2 for kefir). At the entrance gates have taken place: In the port of Igoumenitsa there have been 75 checks, all in containers carrying milk products 35 checks have been made in the port of Patras (16 in milk products tanks and 19 in cheese loads). In the Promachonas there have been three checks, all of them involving milk products. Three checks have been carried out in the dairy industry for on-the-spot balance control (Alexandroupolis, Kilkis, Tripoli) and within the week on-the-spot checks have been planned in two more dairy companies. Similar checks have been carried out on fresh fruit and vegetables. Specifically: 193 checks (Attiki 54, Thessaloniki 14, Larissa 38, Volos 23, Ioannina 52, Patras 12). In biologicals: 33 controls (Attiki 24, Larissa 2, Volos 5, Thessaloniki and Voula in Popular Biological Products). Laboratory tests for residues of plant protection substances 26 (Attica 24, Thessaloniki 2). In the final stage is also the programme for the training of emergency checks from the mixed scales and it is expected that in the coming days checks will begin on olive oil, meat, honey. In fruit and vegetables in particular, controls concern apples and potatoes, while checks on oranges and mandarins have begun and continued on kiwi. It is noted that all of the above concerns emergency operations which are complementary to the regular checks included in the annual programming of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, the ELGO – DIMITRA and the ET. Test results To date out of 103 samples sent to the GCC 86 concern FETA, of which 57 have completed the analyses. At 55 no findings were found and one is adulterated with cow’s milk and another was found to be more moisture than predicted. As regards the label label: The EPET examines 267 samples of which 249 are various dairy products. The examination of 79 samples has so far been completed and 45 non-compliances have been reported concerning non-declaration of milk origin, producer data, country of origin, packaging indications and incorrect labelling of PDO products have been reported. Fruit and vegetables have also been introduced into the microscope of mixed-scale controls. The thorough checks have led to the withdrawal of potatoes from Athens and Thessaloniki (green). They are also further investigated and heard in cases of kiwi Hellenizations from Iran. Furthermore, a case of non-compliance was found with the entry on the country of origin label on potatoes. Fines Since the beginning of 2024 have imposed fines of EUR 130,000 on 12 companies. 24 recommendations have been given – particularly for markings and packaging – to fresh fruit and vegetables operators. Finally, more than 300 recommendations have been sent and received, within 2024, to traders, wholesalers and exporters of agricultural products to comply with the HPAT’s electronic platform Register of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Traders, (UN). In the dairy sector, a total of EUR 267,286 will be fined in March. These infringements concern milk balances other than PDO products and lead to penalties directly from the CSDP without requiring a finding of a primary or secondary committee. Remainings To date, a total of 196 pending cases and fines of EUR 1,297,181 have been examined. Of these, the vast majority of cases concerned cheese products (182 cases). And the fines imposed on cheese companies are 1,131,000 euros. The remaining 14 cases concerned plant products (oil and olives) and the fines imposed are 166,181 euros. The total outstanding references remaining to be considered are 149 cases concerning cheese products. As regards the Second Higher Committee on the Examination of Irregularities and Infringements of the Hellenic Ministry of Justice in the four years 2020-2023, 26 cases of undertakings which objected to the decision of the First Higher Commission have been forwarded. Of these 26 cases, 8 have been examined (7 for cheese products and one for vegetable products, in addition 6 have been examined by the second higher committee, but the procedure for the issuing of practice and dispatch of decisions has not been completed, and for the remaining 12 concerning 10 cheese and 2 vegetable products, their examination is pending. The next meeting of the second higher committee has been set on 13 March, where three cases are expected to be discussed. By the end of April 7 more cases of cheese products will be examined. Also in seven more cases, in order to be examined by the second level, a decision of the Board is expected. These cases concern reed olives.

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