Half of Portugal’s restaurants must improve standards

THE INSPECTOR General of the Portuguese Food Hygiene and Quality Standards Authority says that restaurants must improve standards or face closure.

António Nunes, Inspector-General of the Agência para a Qualidade e Segurança Alimentar, claims that Portugal has double the restaurants, bars and cafés than the European average, with 50 per cent not meeting strict EU and Portuguese health, hygiene and consumer protection standards.

In an interview over the weekend in Portuguese daily newspaper Correio da Manhã, he said that his inspectors would not close their eyes to any infraction of the law that jeopardised consumer rights.

They had two choices, either modernise and get up to standard or be closed down. “What we’re saying is that if the law says they have to have a licence and must reach certain standards to get that licence, they must do so or have their activities suspended.”

The inspector also gave examples of places where wedding estates, Quintas para Casamentos, had been opened in places where such business was prohibited by planning restrictions.

He also denied that any of his 240 health and safety and license inspectors had “received bribes” to turn a blind eye to obvious infractions.

António Nunes said that 34,000 operations were planned for the next 12 months and that 40,000 had been carried out last year, with 300 establishments being investigated.

“On average, we carry out 40,000 inspections a year and most establishments are visited once every six or seven years, and we have received between 80-90,000 complaints from the public,” he added.

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