Cyprus Mail

Health services step up food safety controls

By Evie Andreou

With less than a week until Easter Sunday, the health services have intensified controls on foodstuffs, the deputy of health services Christos Christou said on Monday.

He added that after controls on importers of raw materials, problematic batches of sesame seeds, shelled peanuts and raisins, had been found.

Salmonella was detected in the sesame seeds, Christou said, so they would either be destroyed or shipped back to the country from which they were imported.

Sulphur dioxide was detected on the raisins which was not mentioned on the label, therefore its circulation on the marker was forbidden since it is a substance that can cause allergies, Christou said.

“Earlier in the year, after lab tests on shelled peanuts about to be distributed on the market, we detected high levels of aflatoxins,” he said.

He added that they found out that the peanuts had arrived through intra-community trade from Greece but that the initial point of departure was China.

“In cooperation with the state lab and customs, we observed the intra-community trade from Greece for all shelled peanut batches and…we traced six more cases, whose circulation in the market was prohibited,” he said.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Philippos Patsalis, said that no practice that endangered public health or mislead consumers would be tolerated, in his address to mark World Health Day, which is dedicated to food safety, and marked on Tuesday.

Unsafe foodstuffs are held responsible for more than 200 diseases like diarrheal diseases, viral diseases, problems in child development, even cancers, he said.

He added that Cyprus was among the four fastest EU countries when it came to  effective management and update of information in the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF).

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