Widespread violation of food-sourcing rules in school supply

The Latvian Food and Veterinary Service (PVD) this year has inspected 55 educational institutions, and in 86 percent of cases discovered violations in green procurements of food products, the LETA newswire reported.

The educational institutions have overwhelmingly failed to meet green procurement requirements. PVD reported that in all these cases educational institutions had to make sure that they are delivered food products that meet the green procurement requirements, but it has not been done.

In 24 educational institutions PVD discovered that only part of the products delivered to schools meet the technical specification. The products that did not meet the requirements included fresh meat, meat and dairy products, eggs, flour, pasta and peas. These products had been made by companies that have not been included in the technical specifications.

Also, fruit, vegetables did not meet the requirements, in some cases suppliers have provided false information about the country of origin of these products.

In 14 educational institutions PVD discovered that the supplied products are of lower category than provided in the specification, for example, olive pomace oil instead of extra virgin olive oil. Also, requirements regarding the product packaging, quality and origin have not been met.

"In 11 educational establishments, it was not possible to assess the compliance of the products delivered with the green public procurement contract because of a lack of access to food product documentation (contracts, technical specifications)," the PVD said. 

Checks were also made on two wholesale companies that do not comply with the terms of the contract and provide companies with products that do not comply with green public procurement requirements.

"It has been found that one of the tested companies holds unprocessed vegetables in the warehouse and supplies misleading information about the origin of the product in the accompanying documents or labels when supplied to educational establishments," the PVD said.

One company was fined an undisclosed amount and administrative proceedings instituted, as violations were detected repeatedly, while the other company had received a warning.

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