The Auchan Group, which manages the chains Jumbo and the Sugar Loaf, had on their shelves a product that had "no trace" of cod advertised on the label.In place of the cod was a sort of unauthorized marketing in Portugal, peixe caracol . The meal was pre-cooked Thumb brand, in the same group.
The news is advanced on Sunday by the Daily News , who sent for laboratory analysis Biopremier nine samples of different products. Among them, three meals pre-cooked cod with cream brands Continent, Pingo Doce and Thumb.In the latter, was not detected "any percentage" of cod. What he found was a sort of scientific name Liparis , commonly known as fish-snail.
The cod with cream without cod was acquired in Jumbo Alfragide for journalists DN . Confronted by the same newspaper published the news before, Auchan said to have taken "precautionary" product sales and announced to be "to make inquiries with the supplier to find out what has originated this possible irregularity."
The Secretary-General Deco - Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection, Jorge Morgado, told the PUBLIC that it is a case "troubling" that "creates doubt and uncertainty of consumers in relation to the quality control of the companies."
Although the experts consulted by DN believe that fish-snail can be safely consumed by humans, Jorge Morgado believes that "we need to make sure that this apparent falsification does not endanger public health." And consider that, in any case, the prosecutor must intervene.
peixe caracol has a value lower than the cod, which makes this type of practice profitable for companies that do. However, the exchange of commercial goods is a fraud, that may be punishable by imprisonment.Moreover, peixe caracol is not in the list of species whose trade is permitted in Portugal .
"Our interest is also in the prevention of this type of situations," states Jorge Morgado. "The crisis and falling profits may lead some companies less insightful to embark on this type of processes," says the secretary general of DECO, pointing, however, the current action of the Food Safety Authority and Economic (ASAE) as cause of the problem.
"The repetition of this kind of news undermines the image of the ASAE own.The reduction of public activity and deletion of the ASAE - which has been the practice during the term of this government - encourages illegal practices, leads to unscrupulous people think that crime pays. "Morgado 'it is the visibility of the ASAE," which "disincentive" these frauds. "It gives the idea that the ASAE now confined to its international commitments."
ASAE is "on the ground"
for Lusa, the president of ASAE said that "the services are active on the ground, to collect and analyze information to assess the situation that was denounced." "We're seeing what happened and take appropriate action under the circumstances." Regarding the criticism of Deco, Francisco Lopes says ASAE keeps operating levels "sufficient" to ensure food safety for consumers."We analyzes the products, we have plans to ground control and whenever these situations are detected we act quickly."
"These situations are cyclical, but we minded", also said Lopes. "If we put in all outlets an inspector to do analysis, nonconformities may continue to happen. This does not mean that the ASAE decreased attention [these cases].We are here to prevent and anticipate, but we can not have a technician at each site, it is impossible. "
The packaging fish-snail was marked with product certification Portuguese, but Jorge Morgado says this precooked may not have been prepared in Portugal. "The symbol of Portuguese product has gaps. If anything, says the company is Portuguese - and little else. The question is whether, for example, is not just an importer. That's why the Deco not joined the campaign because we feel the fragility of the process. "
The exchange of food caused a controversy at European level in February, when it was discovered it was being sold horse meat labeled as beef in several EU countries. In early March, Auchan was also involved in the process, after laboratory tests requested by Deco have detected DNA horse burgers and meatballs sold by the group. The latter were also brand thumb.