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Brazil seizes spoiled food from World Cup hotels

Brazilian health officials have raided hotels that will host visiting World Cup teams, including England and Italy, and confiscated expired food such as shrimp and salmon from their kitchens.

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazilian health officials have raided hotels that will host visiting World Cup teams, including England and Italy, and confiscated expired food such as shrimp and salmon from their kitchens.

"The checks were carried out as part of our drive to see food safety codes enforced as part of a round of inspections being undertaken given the close proximity of the World Cup," Fabio Domingos, head of inspections at Rio de Janeiro state consumer protection agency Procon, told AFP on Tuesday.

Teams are due to begin arriving next week for the World Cup, which kicks off on June 12. About 600,000 foreign fans and 3.1 million Brazilians are also expected to descend on the 12 host cities.

Procon said its inspectors had found 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of expired shrimp, salmon, margarine and pasta at the Hotel Portobello, which will house the Italian delegation in Mangaratiba just west of Rio.

Domingos said the shrimp had expired in early April.

The inspectors also removed another 24 kilos of food that had no date labeling.

An inspection at the Royal Tulip Hotel in Rio, where England will stay, uncovered some two kilos of out-of-date salmon, butter and ham.

A further inspection saw 20 kilos of food junked at Rio's Sheraton Hotel.

Among items dumped at the swanky establishment which will host four World Cup teams - reigning champions Spain, Belgium, Argentina and Ecuador - were 1.4 kilos of foie gras.

Domingos said care was taken to ensure the food thrown away was disposed of properly.

"The products found are immediately doused in detergent and other chemical products so they cannot be re-utilized," he told AFP.

Procon said other hotels would be checked as "teams and fans are all consumers, and we are acting for their benefit."

It said hotels must tell government officials why they have out of date food on the premises within 15 days or face a fine.

Inspectors also checked Rio's Hotel Caesar Park, where Holland's squad will be based, but found nothing amiss in its kitchen.

Procon also visited restaurants, bakeries and shops as part of its crackdown and has cited eight establishments so far for irregularities which saw 218 kilos of food thrown away.

Many of the 32 teams competing at the World Cup will bring their own food, and some will even have their own chefs.

Procon said customs at airports would monitor what food was imported as well as its quality.

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