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The Mozambican authorities are threatening to withdraw subsidies from bakers who swindle their customers with underweight loaves, reports Tuesday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”.
In order to avoid any further increase in the rice of bread, the government subsidises the wheat flour used by bakers. But in recent weeks it has become obvious that some bakers are cheating their clients by selling loaves that weigh much less than they should.
A standard loaf should weigh 200 grams, but the government’s National Inspectorate of Economic Activities (INAE) has found cases where this loaf only weighed 120 grams.
On their visits to bakeries, INAE inspectors have also found some where the lack of hygiene and cleanliness threatens public health. These health concerns were so serious that some bakeries were told to close down until they had cleaned up.
INAE general inspector Maria Freitas told “Mediafax” that the government will analyse bakeries selling underweight loaves case by case, and will remove the wheat flour subsidy from those bakers who are violating the agreements reached between the Mozambican Association of Bakers (AMOPAO) and the government. She said that bakeries found to be cheating their customers with underweight bread are already being fined.
She pointed out that, through AMOPAO, the bakeries had agreed to receive the subsidies paid by the government, through the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and in exchange had promised not to increase the price of bread or alter the weight of the loaves.
“If a memorandum exits, they should comply with what is in the memorandum”, said Freitas. “The government is subsidising bakeries so that citizens may consume loaves that are the correct size”.
She added that it is compulsory for bakeries to have a set of scales on their counter so that citizens can check the weight of the loaves they buy.
“It is compulsory for the bakeries to display the price and weight of the loaves and this isn’t happening”, she said. “The information is not displayed and the scales are not available to check the weight”.
As for hygiene, Freitas said the conditions in many bakeries are deplorable. “We cannot allow a place that produces bread to have hygiene conditions that are less than desirable”, she stressed. “We cannot have pet animals in places where bread is baked, or sold. But in some cases we have found pets there”.Source: AIM