Rabat - Following claims of low-quality milk production, Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum has released a new 200-page report allegedly leaked from Morocco’s Court of Auditors.
Rabat – Following claims of low-quality milk production, Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum has released a new 200-page report allegedly leaked from Morocco’s Court of Auditors.
The report blamed Morocco’s National Office of Food Safety (ONSSA) for not monitoring food production. The report also pointed fingers at the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture for its “dereliction.”
ONSSA was created within the framework of Morocco’s new system to control food safety in 2009. ONSSA is also part of Morocco’s Green Plan.
The report, obtained by Akhbar Al Yaoum exclusively, criticizes Morocco’s Ministry of Agriculture, led by Minister Aziz Akhannouch. It claims that several food products, including tea, meats, and dairy products, are not subjected to health monitoring.
The experts of the Court of Auditors, led by Driss Jettou, “unveils in their report serious conclusions, which concern the status of basic products…including meats, milk and its derivatives, vegetables and tea,” wrote Akhbar Al Yaoum.
The newspaper, which was the only outlet to write about the content of the leaked report, added that “Moroccans consume these products without them being the subject to the minimum necessary health controls before consumption.”
Meat, milk, and vegetables out of control
The judges of the court mentioned that the ONSSA did not monitor the wholesale marketing of fruits and vegetables “because they consider them as uncategorized and could not trace the path of fruits and vegetables from the farm to the wholesale market.”
The report allegedly said that the ONSSA did not establish a tracking and control system, as is the case for products for export, unveiling a lack of monitoring of the quantities of pesticides in vegetables and fruits for the domestic market.
“Unlike export-oriented products, the domestic markets’ products remain out of control.”
The report says that there is only a “single scheme on pesticide residues in fruits, vegetables and deciduous plants carried out by the regional stakeholders for the control of plant and plant-based products.
“This scheme only included the sale in markets, including Friday markets and major areas, but it remains insufficient in regard to the number of samples taken, which does not cover the entire national territory.”
The report gave examples from the Tangier-Tetouan, Marrakech-Tensift, Beni Mellal, and Meknes-Fez regions, which were not subject to monitoring between 2014 and 2016.
“Even the samples taken in 2016 were limited to deciduous plants and did not include vegetables and fruits,” the report said.
The report of the court also claimed that in 2015 and 2016 ONSSA only took dairy samples from production factories, but not from sale points.
The report added that dairy products sold in Morocco were not subjected to any monitoring operations in 2017.
“Only three out of 2,700 milk collection centers match heath standards,” said the report.
ONSSA denied the claims in a statement published on June 11, emphasizing that all products were subjected to a monitoring process.
The report also criticized Morocco’s slaughterhouses, saying that of the 900 slaughter houses across the country, only 4 meet health standards.
Akhannouch not happy
Al Jarida 24, a news outlet affiliated with Akhbar Al Yaoum, reported on Tuesday that Akhannouch denounced the leaking of the report, emphasizing that it could possibly lead to further crisis.
Since April 20, Morocco has been witnessing a major boycott targeting three giant companies: Sidi Ali, Centrale Danone, and Akhannouch’s gasoline company, Afriquia gas.
“I don’t know how this came out … today we discovered that some newspapers published it without respect for confidentiality. Data must be published only after obtaining management answers,” said Akhannouch who said. He added that the ministry “did not respond to the comments yet.”
He further said “this is unreasonable. I held the office responsible and asked them this morning to open an investigation.”