In Brief: New foodwatch report finds Germany is not meeting requirements for mandatory food safety inspections

Consumer group foodwatch says data from Germany’s food safety authorities shows one in three inspections is skipped and in Berlin, less than half of mandatory checks take place.

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

 

 

Data compiled by the consumer watchdog organization foodwatch shows Germany is failing to meet legal requirements for mandatory food inspections.

The organization requested data from nearly 400 food safety authorities in Germany via the Verbraucherinformationsgesetz, or Consumer Information Act, and found that one in three required food inspections are not carried out.

Dario Sarmadi from foodwatch said Berlin and Bremen showed fewer than half of all inspections were conducted.

“We found out that every second mandatory food inspection in Berlin is actually cancelled because the district offices have far too few personnel for consumer protection,” Sarmadi said.

Sarmadi said taxpayer funds pay for the food inspections and therefore the results should be made public.

Foodwatch is calling for greater transparency in Germany. Sarmadi highlighted countries with systems Germany could emulate, including Denmark which uses a “Smiley Scheme.”

In the Danish system, there are four different smileys used to symbolize how successfully various food providers are adhering to regulations, therefore allowing consumers to make informed decisions before they choose to dine or buy.

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Customers of the insolvent travel company Thomas Cook may be partially reimbursed for trips they were unable to take after the company filed bankruptcy.

The German government announced it will reimburse some damages that are not compensated by other parties, such as the Zurich insurance group.

Germany’s Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection Christine Lambrecht said that talks are still underway on how exactly customers can apply for compensation.

The consumer insurer, Zurich, must pay a maximum of 110 million euros in damages for cancelled tours. However the Deutsche Presse Agentur reports that preliminary calculations show more than double that amount in losses remain.

 

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