Lithuanian authorities have stopped the sale of possibly unsafe meat, clamped down on fish traders and uncovered food supplement violations in the past month.
Officers at the State Food and Veterinary Service (VMVT) blocked the sale of almost 10 tons of potentially unsafe meat products in early December.
Kaunas processing company Magnuva UAB was stopped from supplying the market with more than 9.7 tons of various meat and semi-finished products.
An inspection of the firm’s production plant revealed breaches related to sanitary and hygiene standards, non-compliances with storage conditions, improper labeling and poor food traceability. The company’s operations were suspended until deficiencies have been rectified.
Production equipment and surfaces in direct contact with food were not properly washed and disinfected. It was also not possible to link specific batches of raw materials to production batches and shelf life was calculated from the day of export of the finished product and not from the time of production, according to VMVT.
In another case in Kaunas, officials prevented the sale of meat from a car in December.
Officers saw an advertisement online offering the chance to buy pork with delivery. Inspectors made a control purchase of meat and were sold 50 kilograms of pork of unknown origin without a sales receipt. After inspecting the vehicle, another 200 kilograms of pork raw material was found.
The investigation revealed pork was transported from Poland in a vehicle that did not have the refrigeration equipment needed to handle perishable foods.
Seasonal fish operation and supplement findings
The State Food and Veterinary Service also stepped up checks on fish traders during the holiday season.
In December, inspectors carried out targeted inspections on the sale of fishery products throughout the country at supermarkets, specialized shops and markets.
Based on controls at 118 outlets, the most common irregularities were improper storage and labeling of fish products. Officials found fish stored at a higher temperature than what is required. Fish is particularly sensitive to storage conditions and can deteriorate quickly, making it unfit for consumption and possibly causing histamine food poisoning. Inspectors also found irregularities in labeling of products as not all listed the country of origin, expiry date or producer.
Another operation looked at the sale of food supplements at 21 markets across the country.
Inspectors found that not all traders had registered their activities and in some cases there was a lack of documentation proving traceability of products. Traders were told to address the problems with some fines issued and supplements removed from sale.
Finally, Lithuania is hoping to soon be allowed to export egg products to the United States.
An application was submitted in 2014 and in the coming months VMVT expects to be able to start procedures for the veterinary certification of egg products and the approval of establishments for the export of these items to the United States.
If American authorities recognize Lithuania as suitable to export egg products, it will become the second EU country after the Netherlands to receive such a permit. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is requesting comments on the plan until Feb. 28, 2022.
In 2020, Lithuanian producers of food of animal origin mainly exported cheese, ice cream, fish and meat products to the United States.
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)