The Regional Authority for Economic Activities (ARAE), released a statement today, saying that the number of complaints they are receiving relating to the current practice of cutting and adding sugar to fruit in order to tempt customers in the region’s markets and fairs, is on the increase.
As such, the AEAE, who are a supervisory, inspection, monitoring, regulation and reference criminal police body in food consumer safety, have issued the following warnings:-
1. The cutting of fruit and the addition of sugar, their display and distribution for tasting by customers, constitute actions for the manipulation of foodstuffs in the light of Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of April 29, 2004, concerning the hygiene of foodstuffs, which requires compliance with the rules of good hygiene practices contained therein, and specifically those contained in chapters II and III of annex II of said Regulation.
2. This practice, even if the information that the fruit contains added sugar is provided, in written, visible form and in several languages, is a practice that conflicts with food safety and licensing rules.
3. The availability of samples of (manufactured) fruit for consumption by several citizens simultaneously, as well as the display of fruit open in an area for people to circulate, without any packaging or refrigeration through, for example, a refrigerated showcase, substantiates practices that increase the risk of contamination, dust or other contacts, which can affect the health of consumers.
4. Utensils are also a source of contamination and must comply with the rules contained in the aforementioned Regulation, and must be sterilised after each use, in the case of reusable utensils, or discarded after a single use, in the case of utensils made of biodegradable material.
5. The situations described may substantiate the practice of administrative infractions for non-compliance with the general and specific hygiene requirements provided for in Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004, punishable by a fine of up to 44,890 Euros.”
ARAE is on hand to help clarify any doubts with regards to the rules but will act accordingly if any of its officers detects or notices any of the above administrative and/or criminal infractions.