ROME – Italian police seized 21 tons of contaminated or damaged Easter eggs and other sweets worth $728,000, Italian news agency ANSA reported Friday.
After more than 850 inspections, authorities responsible for food health and safety found a large amount of Easter candy covered in mold or parasites.
Police found that 295 producers across the country had poor hygiene and food conservation practices and that many products had exceeded their sell-by dates. Other producers were accused of falsely promoting Easter sweets as handmade when they were actually manufactured commercially.
In addition to seizing faulty merchandise and closing down operations, police identified 316 individuals accused of faulty practices and were considering fines or legal action against 32 candy manufacturers, bakeries and cake shops.
In the northern city of Turin, police seized 4,409 pounds of Easter eggs and other sweet treats after uncovering a bakery basement filled with ingredients and products covered in dust and dead insects -- while in Caserta and Cosenza, in southern Italy, police seized seven tons of raw materials after discovering three plants and two bakery warehouses that failed to meet health and safety standards.
In Rome, police found 900 Easter cakes that were falsely labeled as homemade, and another 4,000 pounds of outdated raw materials and stale candies were seized in Bologna and Aosta, in northern Italy.