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Catalina García. SUR
Junta de Andalucía demands meeting with Spanish authorities following three health alerts in a month
Health

Junta de Andalucía demands meeting with Spanish authorities following three health alerts in a month

The regional health minister has criticised border controls and says it should be improved for third country goods

Europa Press

Seville

Friday, 22 March 2024, 18:10

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Andalusian health minister Catalina García has requested a meeting with Spanish authorities over three health alerts issued in a month, which she says is caused by poor border control for goods coming into Spain.

The Junta representative wants to talk to Spanish minister of health Mónica García to "improve border control" for products arriving from third countries. Asked about this in the regional parliament, García pointed out the control of these products is part of the National Plan for Official Control of the Food Chain, which has two sub-programmes. One, in which the regions participate, is the primary one carried out by the ministry of agriculture and the other is public health - "and then foreign health also intervenes" and this is "what is worrying".

"It is the control that is carried out at the border and which, moreover, is carried out by the workers of the General State Administration. We also believe that this border control could be improved," García added.

On 19 February, an alert was issued after a consignment of strawberries arrived at the Port of Algeciras in Cadiz. The regional minister reported the foreign health inspection carried out a screening but did not immobilise the goods and, when the information reached the regional ministry, "within 24 hours our public health surveillance service had done all the product traceability". "We knew where the strawberries had been and that they had not reached the market," García said, adding that: "if there is no mobilisation of the product, it is difficult for us to act when we are notified 13 days after the product has crossed the border". Following this, she said the Junta increased its catalogue of samples and is carrying out complementary inspections.

Vox's Alonso Rodríguez insisted on the risk of "replacing our primary sector with the primary sector of third countries", something that is "fully complied with" when they see the market "flooded" with products from "Morocco, Egypt or South Africa".

But he also warned of "the danger" to safety, bearing in mind that, in one month, "three health alerts have been issued, two for the presence of hepatitis A in strawberries from Morocco due to irrigation with faecal water" and another for "peppers that doubled the maximum permitted limit of an insecticide in the European Union".

Rodríguez called for an increase in human resources to carry out inspections "immediately on all products from third countries" and that "the goods should be held until the results of the analysis are available".

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