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The Mozambican government’s National Inspectorate of Economic Activities (INAE) last week ordered the closure of 20 establishments across the country, mostly for lack of hygiene.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference on Monday, the INAE Deputy Director, Acacio Foia, said the inspectors had also fined 22 establishments a total of 597,000 meticais (about 8,700 US dollars, at current exchange rates).
Over the week, INAE inspected a total of 622 establishments, mostly bakeries and restaurants. The inspectors seized and ordered the destruction of deteriorated foodstuffs valued at 600,000 meticais.
In Maputo city and province alone, INAE closed ten bakeries. “In one of the bakeries, the police had to intervene”, said Foia, “because the staff, acting on orders of the owner, refused to allow us to enter, although we are accredited”.
“We were obliged to contact the nearest police station”, he said. “Then we invaded the place and discovered that it was filthy”.
During the visits to bakeries, the INAE inspectors not only check for hygiene and cleanliness, but they also weigh the loaves to see whether the clients are being cheated.
Out of a sample of 15 bakeries, the inspectors found that nine were selling underweight loaves. In one case, a loaf which ought to have weighed 200 grams only weighed 147 grams.
On Friday alone, according to a report in Monday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”, INAE ordered the closure of three bakeries in the city of Matola, confiscated 900 loaves and ordered the destruction of dozens of others.
The INAE general inspector , Maria Freitas, told the paper that all three bakeries had serious problems of hygiene and cleanliness, including dirty toilets and wash basins, the presence of rats and cockroaches, and workers who were unshaved and had long fingernails.
The “Deju” bakery did not even have its own source of piped water, and had neither bathrooms nor dressing rooms for the workers. None of the workers had the obligatory health card, and it could not weight the bread it produced, since it had no scales.
“Mediafax” adds that the owners of some of the businesses inspected have been making angry phone calls to INAE and to the Ministry of Industry and Trade demanding a change in INAE’s decisions. The owners of these closed bakeries called themselves “comrades” of the ruling Frelimo Party. So far INAE has not yielded to this sort of political pressure.Source: AIM