• Friday, 12 July 2024

Babovski: We eat safe and high-quality food, expired products sold in markets due to operators' mistakes

Babovski: We eat safe and high-quality food, expired products sold in markets due to operators' mistakes

Skopje, 7 June 2024 (MIA) - We eat safe and high-quality food. Everything that has been in circulation and has been inspected is absolutely safe, said Food and Veterinary Agency director Nikolche Babovski on Friday.

He told a press conference marking June 7- World Food Safety Day that 22,000 inspections were conducted in the first five months of this year. However, the Agency still lacks at least 40 food quality inspectors, and the institution will ask the new government for new employments.

According to the director, there are 180 food quality inspectors that do their job diligently, and all measures regarding food safety that apply in the EU, are also applied in the country.

Some EU countries have sometimes returned exported food from Macedonia, and in such cases the error is mostly in the primary production due to the use of certain pesticides.

"When buying any product, citizens should be well-informed about what is written on the declarations, pay attention to the way the food is kept and stored, and the date of expiration. Often times, due to certain mistakes from economic operators, expired food is sold in markets. Our quality food inspectors pay close attention to such issues," Babovski stressed. 

Since the start of the year, the Food and Veterinary Agency has received 79 initiatives from citizens requiring inspections, 32 of which were related to food safety. They complained about buying expired food products, food prepared or served in unhygienic environments, incorrectly labelled food, suspicions of food poisoning, and other complaints related to the quality of food products. Of the total number of submitted complaints, four were rejected as unfounded. The Food and Veterinary Agency services acted accordingly regarding the other complaints.

Babovski noted that more than 600 million people in the world get sick from inappropriate, poor quality, and unsafe food, while 420,000 people die every year from poor quality food, or one in ten people get sick from contaminated food. Food is also the cause of over 200 diseases in humans.

"Given that next week the country is expecting a heat wave of up to 39°C, citizens are advised to buy perishable food products last and immediately store them at a temperature not higher than 5°C. With that we responsibly take care of our health," Babovski said.

The motto of this year's World Food Safety Day is "Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected," and the Food and Veterinary Agency has joined the European Food Safety Authority's 2024 ‘Safe2Eat’ campaign, which is realized with partners from EU member-countries and country-candidates. The campaign is a rebranding from #EUChooseSafeFood campaign, which aims to raise awareness regarding food safety among European citizens.

The ‘Safe2Eat’ campaign focuses on educating citizens about various aspects of food safety, enabling consumers to make food choices with confidence, and increase their personal trust in the EU's food system. The campaign is mainly directed at European citizens between the ages of 18-55, but also the general public, i.e. those with a high level of conscience and little concern for food safety, or those who are very worried and less informed about it.

Now in its fourth year, the campaign focuses on three key areas: safe food practices, food and health, and what does your food contain. ssh/nn/

Photo: MIA