Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Specialists of the Kiev trade inspectorate and sanitary officers have sounded the alarm — full insanitary conditions reign in the grocery supermarkets of the Ukrainian capital. Cockroaches and rats run along the trading floors, and worms are often found in sausages and bread. According to experts, if the situation doesn’t change the residents of Kiev will inevitably be threatened by epidemics of leptospirosis, gastrointestinal infections, and other dangerous diseases. Ukrainians may soon pay such a price for the negligence of the current authorities — a few years ago they disbanded the sanitary-epidemiological service and still haven’t restored it.
With autumn approaching in the supermarkets of Kiev instances of citizens being sold products with “surprises” in the form of cockroaches, worms, and other interesting creations became frequent. And buyers periodically notice rats and mice on the trading floors, darting between racks and boxes. Moreover, as the experts reported, practically all grocery retailers popular in Kiev – “Fora”, “Silpo”, “Auchan”, “Furshet”, “Fozzy”, and many others – are guilty of this.
Hundreds of residents of Kiev complain on social networks, publishing pictures confirming that insects creep along the trading floors of the “Furshet” and “Auchan” supermarkets.
“Another cockroach tramples on your bun in ‘Furshet’, and after all someone will guzzle it down,” wrote a social media user.
On the Internet regularly there are also photos of long loafs in shops of the “Fora” network – in bread disgusting larvae are found.
“If you dream to go to Cambodia, there is no need — bread with baked larvae is already on the counters,” wrote with bitter irony an inhabitant of Kiev.
Local media ascertained the fact of “the return to Kiev of whiskered insects that had almost disappeared in the 2000’s”.
“If cockroaches have already found their way into the shop, then they run along all counters,” said the sanitary officer Denis Pavlovsky. “For example, from meat and sausages they run across racks with pastries. I.e., those bacteria that were on the meat — perhaps, already rotten — are transferred to bread and buns.
People who have consumed these products can have various food poisonings. Red cockroaches are distributors of many dangerous diseases, including dysentery and gastroenteritis, and can provoke a sharp allergy. And mice and rats are carriers of especially dangerous diseases, in particular leptospirosis, which in 10% of cases leads to death,” he said.
According to Pavlovsky, this is especially dangerous for the young residents of Kiev. If poisoning most often doesn’t cause serious consequences in adults, then a child, having eaten food that cockroaches have “enjoyed”, can end up in hospital for a few days. And in the worse case scenario — they can even die, warns Pavlovsky.
The head of the “Fumigation Association” public organisation Tamara Podbereznyak in turn said that in order to completely get rid of cockroaches and rats, there is a need to stop the work of a supermarket for at least two-three days. And during all this time careful treatment of all rooms by expensive insecticidal compounds must take place.
“However, shop owners most often don’t want to resort to such a step — after all, it strikes a serious blow to their profit margin,” said Podbereznyak. “Not only do they have to stop trading, but treating all the rooms costs a considerable amount of money too.
That’s why local retailers prefer ‘cosmetic measures’ — such as the easy treatment of one room with unknown compounds. As a result cockroaches, worms, and rats re-appear, and buyers and their children are poisoned, buying seemingly quite ordinary food products”.
According to experts, over the past three months in Kiev no less than 150 cases of salmonellosis, gastroenteritis, gastrointestinal disorders, and other dangerous diseases were recorded. And these are only the official figures of the “Fumigation Association”. The real number of poisonings among citizens after visiting supermarkets in Kiev can be estimated in the thousands.
Experts see the reason for the current wild situation in Kiev’s supermarkets not only in the negligence of retailers and their devil-may-care attitude towards the health of their fellow citizens. According to the head of the State Consumer Service of Kiev Oleg Ruban, the root of all evil is lies in the elimination of the State Sanitary-Epidemiological Service. It was disbanded in May, 2014 within the framework of “reforming” the healthcare system of Ukraine.
The then Minister of Healthcare of Ukraine Aleksandr Kvitashvili became the initiator of it. Destroying the Ukrainian Sanitary-Epidemiological Service, Kvitashvili saw it as an important ideological message.
“The Sanitary-Epidemiological Service robbed the whole country via bribery. I don’t think that they effectively worked for the benefit and health of the nation. It is necessary to remove such Soviet symbols,” explained the reformer.
The functions of the Sanitary-Epidemiological Service of Ukraine at were at first dispersed – they were transferred to the State Consumer Service, which was attached to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food. And then it was completely liquidated. As a result, the outbreak of food poisonings, intestinal infections, and dangerous diseases already became an everyday occurrence in Kiev and other large cities in Ukraine.
The experts also stated that now in Ukraine there is no uniform system of certifying insect, rat, and other pest control agents. And in the legal framework of the country there are simply no documents necessary for the regulation of this question. So now control over the sanitary condition of retail outlets actually rests on the shoulders of businessmen.
“The reform of the Sanitary-Epidemiological Service has, in fact, turned into its liquidation,” said the expert Podbereznyak. “Nothing new replaced it, and the country was left alone with poisonings, epidemics, and harmful insects.
Alas, today the owners of supermarkets and distribution networks feel the lack of state control over the observance of sanitary standards and with might and main save money on this item of expenditure. This leads to horrifying results”.
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