The Albanian Helsinki Committee supports and lauds the investigation of the “Fiks Fare” show on food safety.
AHC deems it necessary to emphasize the fact that it is not the first time that food products have resulted out of standards, but is of the opinion that this issue has not been pursued to the end. Concretely, the public is not informed about what impact that the sale of expired or poor quality food items has had or could have on people’s health. In some instances, the public has been notified about blocking of such products or fines through administrative means. There have been cases when the problem has been considered over or closed and there has been no follow up on where such fraud, against the health and life of people, originates from and what concrete measures have been undertaken to prevent this phenomenon.
AHC is of the opinion that such fraud carried out in various forms, but always for narrow interests and benefits, requires intervention, controls and harsh measures. The fraudulent actions of the person or group of persons who consider the health damage to not one but many citizens equal to zero is in violation of article 59 of the constitution that stipulates, “The state, within the constitutional competences and means it possesses and to complete private initiative and responsibilities, aims for the highest health standards.” Food safety is an important element of this standard. AHC deems it necessary to highlight not just the investigation carried out by “Fiks Fare” for one or two products, but also for many other products consumed every day and whose quality is questioned.
There are legal as well as international acts that establish clear rules about food safety, the exercise of controls and accountability for violators.
It should suffice to mention law of 28.01.2008 “On food,” the Council of Ministers’ Decision of 21.10.2009 “On the organization and functioning of the national food authority,” law of 16.06.2011 “On inspection in the Republic of Albania” etc.
AHC calls on competent bodies to not limit themselves to sporadic controls and the undertaking of an administrative nature, but when there are reasonable and founded suspicions that are also verified through lab analysis, they should not hesitate to refer them for prosecution. In the context of transparency regarding this issue, the public seeks to be informed not only about the result of controls, but also about effective measures undertaken to assure health and prevent such cases.