Cyprus Mail

Food inspections stepped up for Christmas, offending producers on notice

Authorities on Thursday said they seized over four tonnes of peanuts ridden with high levels of aflatoxins and around 300 kilogrammes of dried apricots found to contain large quantities of preservatives in just a few days after launching rigorous checks in foodstuff storage facilities and shops ahead of the festive season.

The checks began on December 3 and are to last until January 4.

According to the head of the state health services, Alvertos Karis, so far, 429 businesses have been checked and around 120 samples have been sent for lab tests.

“The checks concern businesses preparing foodstuff expected to be consumed during the festive season, supermarkets and foodstuffs imported from third countries,” Karis told state broadcaster CyBC.

He said that the checks are in cooperation with the state lab.

So far, according to Karis, 4,600 kg of peanuts were found in a storage facility that were found to have aflatoxins over the limit.

“They have not reached the market, they will be destroyed,” Karis said.

In another storage facility, around 300kg of dried apricots were found to contain over the permitted limit of preservatives. The batch will also be destroyed.

“Around 68 kg of various products such as marmalades, kourambiedes and dried fruit, have been taken off supermarkets shelves after being found to present some sort of deterioration such a mould,” he said.

Authorities have also fined two food production businesses for serious shortcomings and issued warnings to 40 more businesses for minor problems.

Karis urged the public to report similar cases that may come to their attention at the district state health services offices.

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