Consumers should feel safe in making their purchases from approved outlets, Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said on Thursday after visiting supermarkets in Nicosia as part of inspections being carried out in view of Christmas.

He said he was satisfied with the situation in the market as regards supplies and the quality of agricultural produce and meat, and assured consumers that checks have been stepped up ahead of Christmas. Special attention has been given to the safety of meat and other products, he added.

His visit to the supermarkets was symbolic, however authorities have been carrying out “continuous and systematic” checks, and these will continue until Epiphany on January 6, he added. The ministry’s objective is to ensure adequate supplies of food, agricultural produce and meats, as well their quality.

“We are visiting supermarkets with associates at the ministry of agriculture, rural development and environment to see for ourselves that all is going smoothly as regards the quality of food reaching the table of consumers in Cyprus. Our remit particularly concerns fruit shops and sale outlets for fish and meat,” he said.

Kadis said that hygiene protocols were being adhered to and that consumers should feel safe when shopping from approved outlets.

“And this is what we want to stress today and to urge Cypriot consumers to make their purchases from approved/checked outlets where the checks are carried out,” he said.

Soon, authorities will have another tool available to check the supply of products, with the recent approval of legislation on abusive commercial practices in the food chain. This would benefit both farmers and consumers, as it will tackle such illegal actions at their root, the minister added.

For his part, veterinary department head Christodoulos Pipis said abattoirs and meat processing plans were continuing their operation without problem.

To date, a total of 22,000 sheep and goats, 15,500 turkeys, around 8,500 pigs and 148,000 chickens have been slaughtered, more or less at the same levels as last year.

Pipis said no problems have been reported either at the abattoirs or at dairy producers.

And Androulla Georgiou, head of the agriculture department, said that signage on fruit and vegetables were correct and there was a range of quality farm products available.