Inspectors are planning to carry out checks on up to 13,000 restaurants in the Czech Republic this year. Hundreds of controls have already been conducted since the start of 2015, the website Podnikatel.cz reports. Indeed, one of Prague’s best-known establishments has just been shut down after startling shortcomings were discovered on its premises.
Officers from the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority are carrying out checks at restaurants around the country in conjunction with regional hygiene centres, a fresh move aimed at making the checks more systematic and more frequent, Podnikatel.cz says.
Thirteen thousand (or 35 a day) is the target figure for 2015. However, there are an estimated 30,000 restaurants in the Czech Republic so clearly many will not be seen by the end of the year.
The controls are being conducted under new rules for the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority contained in a law on foodstuffs that came into effect at the start of January.
Even before the legislation entered force it was announced that the activities of the agency and public health bodies would be divided in such a way as to maximize efficiency, minimize bureaucracy and prevent a duplication of checks.
The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority is not only responsible for restaurants but also has oversight of snack bars, confectionaries and tea houses, as well as wine bars, bars and even filling stations that sell refreshments – a total of around 115,000 facilities.
The authority’s central director, Martin Klanica, said that as many food providers had ignored its directives and were repeatedly guilty of the same violations it would impose fines large enough to serve as a deterrent.
However, the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority has more weapons at its disposal than financial sanctions. So far this year it has shut down around a dozen outlets, including a pub in Klatovy and a club in Prague’s Žižkov district.
But its most attention grabbing move has been against the Jan Paukert delicatessen on the capital’s Národní St., an institution in the city for over a century. Inspectors immediately ordered its closure after large amounts of mouse droppings were discovered on its floors and kitchen equipment, along with thick grease, dust and mould.
For their part, the operators of Paukert – which claims to be the inventor of the chlebíček (open sandwich) – say the spaces in question had not been in use since the start of this year, when they were returned to the company by a tenant.
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