ASAE accused of destroying Algarve’s traditional customs.jpg

ASAE accused of destroying Algarve’s traditional customs


[email protected]

PORTUGAL’s FOOD hygiene and economic activities agency (ASAE) is under fire for a campaign that is said to be destroying Algarve traditions.

Controversy surrounded Sunday’s chouriço festival in Querença, Loulé, as ASAE officers warned organisers to uphold food safety regulations. As part of the festival, chouriço (smoked sausage) is auctioned off and ASAE said the auctioneer must wear gloves, a white coat and a hat for hygiene reasons.

Organisers felt that this auction was a crucial aspect of maintaining the rustic traditions of the Algarve and the festival. They argued the auction would seem clinical and the fun of the event would be lost.

Critics said they are unable to see how rural tourism can develop if ASAE is banning its traditions.

In the wake of these accusations, a group is being set up to study how to adapt EU health and safety rules, while sustaining traditional customs.


Meanwhile, following hundreds of complaints, ASAE’s director, António Nunes, was in Parliament on Tuesday to answer questions about the agency’s structural model, military training and allegations into “abuse of the interpretation of the law”.

He said that as a fledgling entity, it was natural to make mistakes but “we are always available to evaluate the errors”.

ASAE has also been criticised for its “brutal and exaggerated” way of inspecting premises.

The president of the national nightclubs association, Francisco Tadeu, has accused officers of using heavy tactics to inspect venues throughout the country. However, he added that he believed these inspections were necessary for the regulation and improvement of standards within the industry.

Power trip?

“They are masked and armed to the teeth, as if they were officers from a special squad to fight terrorism”, he said adding that the venues were places of leisure and ASAE officers were intimidating customers instead of being more discreet.

Tadeu said they used “exaggerated use of force” and he criticised ASAE for handing out hefty fines for minor infractions. He also claims that they are not even checking to see whether establishments are properly licensed.

A spokesperson for ASAE told The Resident: “Officers are doing their job and protecting the public’s interests”, but politicians say ASAE is infringing people’s rights rather than protecting them.

The ASAE spokesperson said: “We are inspecting many places because we must ensure that health and safety laws are being upheld”.

It appears that the agency, that was last year praised for its efforts, is falling apart as ASAE officers continue to protest against working overtime.

Union bosses said officers are protesting against the long hours by refusing to work the overtime they were doing last year, in order to keep up with the demands of their jobs.

The strike against overtime, which began on December 20, has led to a decrease in the amount of inspections carried out after normal working hours, as nearly 100 per cent of officers are adhering to the strike.

Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]