Health Minister Popi Kanari on Friday sought to reassure consumers regarding the safety of products found in supermarkets.

During a visit to a supermarket in Nicosia, she stressed the ongoing extensive health and safety checks on products, especially throughout the holiday season.

“These checks aim to identify non-compliant food items promptly, and ensure their timely removal to safeguard consumers,” she said.

Kanari added that the rigorous inspections are carried out by the Health Services.

“This proactive approach prevents many health-related issues,” she explained, adding that checks also detect dangerous substances in foods, such as carcinogens and pesticides.

According to Kanari, the checks cover the entire food chain, from production to consumer shelves.

She then announced that over 500 inspections are taking place from December 18 to 31. Additional inspections are planned on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to ensure seasonal products with potential issues don’t reach consumers.

She cited a recent case where figs containing aflatoxin B1, a carcinogen, were detected, promptly removed from shelves, disclosing the operation as part of the systematic food chain surveillance.

Moreover, she mentioned the European Commission’s periodic checks in Cyprus, ensuring compliance with European provisions.

Accompanying Kanari in her visit was the deputy head of the Health Services Herodotos Herodotou, who explained that food checks during the holidays encompass every stage, from importation to consumer availability.

“Inspections also extend to confectionaries and bakeries,” Herodotou added.

“We are maximising our efforts within our capacity to ensure consumer safety and confidence.”

Agriculture Minister Petros Xenophontos also spoke about food safety on Friday during a visit to another supermarket, as he expressed satisfaction regarding both the quality and quantity of products in the market ahead of the festive season.

“Intensive checks by state authorities continue to ensure the safety, quality, and sufficiency of food products,” he said, stressing that consumers’ needs will be met over the holidays.

He also mentioned that the consumers he interacted with during his supermarket visit expressed satisfaction with both prices and product quality.

Accompanying the minister was the director-general of the agriculture ministry Andreas Grigoriou.