Additional information from the Italian authorities on the cheese fraud

21.7.2008

<div>The Italian authorities have given the European Commission further clarification on the use of the rotten cheeses for food production. According to the information received via the European Commission’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed on 17.7.2008 cheeses that were unfit for human consumption and intended for feed production would have been used for the manufacture of processed and grated cheese. These cheeses were marketed as food.</div>

According to the Italian authorities the products or batches containing the cheeses unfit for human consumption can not be established and it can not either be determined where the products were delivered to. According to the information received, no Finnish food businesses have dealt with the companies in question, and there is no evidence that any of the products in question would have been delivered to Finland. Therefore, based on the information received, Food Safety Authority Evira can not take any measures in the matter.

The companies Tradel, Megal and Sical operating in Italy and International Cheese GmbH operating in Germany, all of which have the same Italian owner, are involved in the cheese fraud. In addition, an Italian company by the name of DELIA has been involved in the case. Tradel, Megal and DELIA were approved by the Italian authorities for food production, but Sical has not been approved as a food processing facility.

In addition to the Italian and German food safety authorities, the European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF had examined the use of the outdated cheeses in Italy and Germany as early as last year.

According to information received previously, Italy has reported that the investigation into the matter started in March 2006 and that the suspected cheese factory, a business by the name of Tradel in Cremona, was closed in June 2007. The factory in question had co-operated with a cheese factory in Novara by the name of Megal. This factory was closed in October 2007. Furthermore the authorities have reported that the products from these cheese factories have been withdrawn from the market and destroyed, which means that according to the Italian authorities they are no longer on the market.

For additional information, please contact:
Head of Unit Kyösti Siponen, tel. +358 20 77 24230, +358 50 386 8412


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