The Norwegian Food Safety Agency has imposed a ban after traces of bacteria in strawberries

strawberryTønsberg.Uncovered serious conditions in the strawberry industry.Photo : Arbeidstilsynet / NTB scanpix

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has found unacceptable conditions for strawberry pickers in Vestfold. Several farms have been banned until the situation has been rectified.

The most grave finding was so severe that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority ordered the destruction of a batch of berries because the strawberry pickers did not have the option of hand washing after toilet visits. The findings were made during a major action amongst the largest strawberry producers in Vestfold, according to Dagbladet.

Several places lacked access to toilets, and there was also no washbasin with clean water and soap. During the audit, there were found foeces near the fields. It was also discovered that  hands were either not washed or washed in a stream close by, the newspaper writes.

There is now a ban on selling berries from these places until proper sanitary conditions are in place.

– Several of the workers were also accommodated in poor housing conditions, where there was both a fire hazard and a bad sanitation. There are seasonal workers from Vietnam who live in our area , and we see that more of them are being exploited badly. These are people we consider to be highly vulnerable workers, “says Marianne Pedersen at the A-crime center in Tønsberg.

Many workers lacked  contracst, and where labour agreements were in place, they were inadequate. Employers also did not control the workers’ working hours, which made it impossible to calculate the correct salary.

The Labour Inspectorate, Southeastern Police District, Tax Administration, Nav Control, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, Customs and Fire Services have all contributed to this action.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today