ASAE gets tough

SINCE JANUARY 2006, the Autoridade para a Segurança Alimentar e Económica (ASAE), the authority which controls food safety and operating procedures at shops and businesses, suspended the activities of 500 restaurants.

The suspensions were ordered due to poor hygiene at the establishments, putting public health and safety at risk.

Manuel Lage, spokesman for ASAE, commented: “We don’t close a restaurant because of a failing in its equipment, such as a rubbish bin not having a pedal. In such cases, we make a recommendation or issue a fine.” The decision to close a restaurant is taken by ASAE inspectors when, for example, a kitchen has cockroaches, is dirty or when grease has been left to accumulate, when food is stored alongside cleaning products or when mouldy food is found.

When a restaurant is shut by ASAE, the manager is notified of the rules that are being broken and the alterations that must be made before the establishment can re-open. “Normally, 24 hours later, we carry out a new inspection. In the majority of cases, the suspension is lifted,” said the spokesman.

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