Bald and shabby retail shops, inhabited by cockroaches, rats and mold: in Munich, butchers hygiene is apparently not always up to scratch.
During the food inspections carried out last year by the District Administration Unit (PRC), one third of the companies have failed. Among the "classics": moldy foods, dead rats in the pantry, dead mice and droppings of vermin and pests which were found at regular intervals.
Out of 354 random inspections, 46 of which were follow-up checks of previous complaints, the city auditor in 132 cases was dissatisfied and demanded improvements - thorough cleaning of the retail space or extra special care in the handling of raw meat.
Taking into account the entire food industry, including supermarkets, restaurants , butchers and beverage markets, hygiene deficiencies are recorded for approximately every fourth inspection. From January 2011, 14 companies had to be temporarily closed.
"The 46 members of the food control inspectorate can appear unannounced at any of the 7,000 restaurants and 295 butchers in Munich" says the head of the department Peter Lueg.
The number of inspections depended on a type of risk scale and the reliability of the shopkeeper. Butchers are trickier than bakeries, beverage markets currently are relatively unproblematic. "About every twelve to eighteen months, controls are made on the goods, the front of the retail establishment, storage and refrigeration rooms, dishes and cutlery, but also on the staff toilets and the internal hygiene regulations" explained the head of the department.
Samples from the inventory are packed and tested in the laboratories of the State Office of Public Health and Food Safety (LGL) in Unterschleissheim. In 2010, the auditors inspected food establishment 16,120 times, 3657 of these controls came as a follow-up action froma previous visit. At least 4260 of the companies showed conditions of poor sanitation, according to Lueg.
In these situations, the auditor demands the deficiencies must be rectified immediately; in more drastic cases, the company is temporarily closed. Very rarely, according to Lueg, final closure is imposed. Sub-standard landlords and traders may also face a fine or criminal proceedings. The fines are graduated according to the severity of the violation and the size of the holdings.
The Munich-based inspectorate not only check factories, but also the wholesale market. They alerted the local government administration department to recall the suspicious Spanish cucumbers - it is really more than shop inspections. The department is also responsible for taking samples from season fruits and vegetables for the periodic "monitoring" of pesticide residues and radioactivity.