In a written statement before the weekend, the ministry said laboratory analysis of the companies’ products had revealed that there was vegetable oil in “tulum” cheese, horsemeat in “fried beef,” white meat in “100 percent beef bologna” and undefined tissue as well as internal organs in “skinless sausages.”
According to the statement, the accused companies are Akgökseller Gıda (producing Hasan Dede “tulum” cheese), Birsen Güven Gıda (producing Yalçıntepe “tulum” cheese), Güldemce Gıda (producing Güldemce “tulum” cheese), Efraim Usta Lokantası (producing Yemek cooked beef), Etsan Gıda (producing Apikoğlu spicy bologna) and Karizma Beşler Et Tesisleri (producing Uludağ skinless sausages).
It is not immediately known if those companies will be prevented from selling their products across the country or if the ministry will deem a fine sufficient.
Speaking to Today’s Zaman last week, İslam Ali Kopuz from the İstanbul Commodity Exchange’s (İSTİB) meat products desk said minced chicken bone and skin were mixed together with red meat to produce sausage, salami and other similar products later be sold in the marketplace. Chicken normally wholesales for TL 7 per kilogram, but this unhealthy mixture can be bought for only TL 1 per kilogram by those unscrupulous companies, Kopuz said. “There would be no health hazard if they used normal chicken, but that would be costlier for the producers, and they obviously do not want to lose money,” he said.
The issue of food safety has become a prominent one in media coverage recently, following the discovery of too many additives in honey sold by a number of companies. Late last month the ministry moved to ban sales of three honey brands -- Balderesi, Bal Teknesi and Osmanlı Bal Evi -- and also named two others as hazardous to consumers, but to a lesser degree. It also demanded that the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) stop broadcasting advertisements for the three main companies in accordance with the ban, effective immediately. The media watchdog said it would fine outlets that continued to run the advertisements. The five companies were each fined TL 10,000 ($5,600).
According to allegations raised by earlier media reports, some honey companies stock pure honey with no additives in their stores in the event of an unexpected inspection, while at the same time responding to individual orders with the additive enhanced products. The ministry therefore changed its strategy and simply placed an order by phone with one of the companies in question. The delivered product contained excessive amounts of glucose syrup and pollen, and was therefore far from being the pure flower honey the company claimed it was in their publicity. The ministry is now set to expose five more such companies for their production of honey with too many additives.