Christmas cake seized by Italy health police

Christmas cake seized by Italy health police
Panettone, Italy's traditional Christmas cake, was one of the products seized by police. Panettone photo: Shutterstock
Italian police have seized more than 60 tonnes of seasonal pastries and sweets in a nationwide campaign targeting fraudulent food producers ahead of Christmas.

Members of the food safety and health unit (Nas) carried out more than 2,000 inspections – more than 100 a day – of factories, bakeries, cheese producers and fruit and vegetable markets in the past three weeks leading up to the festive season.

In a statement released on Tuesday police said inspectors found one in five of the firms had breached food regulations and reported 600 violations of national and local regulations.

In the southern city of Salerno police said they seized 18,000 kilos of chocolates and other sweets with a use by date that had expired in 2007. In the same location they had seized a factory where they allegedly found decomposing figs filled with parasites.

Police said more than 650 people have been charged and ordered to pay a total of €670,000 in fines.

Among the food seizures were 30,000 kilograms of sweets and pastries and 1,000 kilograms of fish products. Police said the products were in poor condition, had exceeded their use by date or stored in poor conditions.

Others were being labelled and sold as home-made products when they had been mass produced.

Among other raids police seized 550 kilograms of fish from the markets of Pozzuoli and Salerno. Around 30,000 sweet products were also seized, including panettone cakes and other products such as wine and fizzy wine, that were said to have been produced in breach of government regulations.

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