Labneh crisis exposed: Inside the investigation of the dairy production factories in Lebanon

News Bulletin Reports
2023-08-23 | 12:39
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Labneh crisis exposed: Inside the investigation of the dairy production factories in Lebanon
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4min
Labneh crisis exposed: Inside the investigation of the dairy production factories in Lebanon

In a recent investigation by LBCI, a peculiar issue has been uncovered within the dairy and cheese market in the northern region of Zgharta.

Certain local stores have been selling unbranded white packages of labneh and cheese products without any nutritional information. Despite their low prices, consumers have been assured that these are locally produced goods. However, the reality seems far from these claims.

Conducting an in-depth inquiry, LBCI collected samples from various dairies and conducted laboratory tests, revealing alarming results.

The labneh samples contained animal fat, vegetable oil, starch, and bacteria. Likewise, the cheese products were discovered to have another strain of harmful bacteria. Promptly, the obtained information was handed over to the Economy Ministry for examination.

The Ministry conducted its tests on the products and released the following findings:

-         One dairy factory was found to produce labneh contaminated with harmful bacteria.

-         Another dairy was identified to have cheese contaminated with a different bacterial strain. Though chemically safe, their cheese contained vegetable oil and starch.

-         A third dairy factory successfully passed the tests.

However, the Ministry's results didn't align with LBCI's findings concerning vegetable oil and starch in the labneh. It was revealed that the manufacturer had been producing a mixture of cheese and dietary supplements using oil and starch, as confirmed by the owner.

The Ministry's analysis was based on samples of the actual labneh products, not the dietary supplements posing as locally-produced labneh on the market, which were sold at a lower price in unmarked plastic containers.

As action was taken on the report, the Ministry and State Security ordered the closure of the first dairy factory responsible for the contaminated labneh with red wax and the second dairy section producing the tainted cheese. The third dairy was spared as it exhibited no violations.

The two factories were now sealed close with red wax. Following a tour of local supermarkets from which our colleague Edmond Sassine bought Labneh to conduct our research, the product appeared abundantly removed from the market.

Thus, the Director-General of the Economy Ministry, Mohammad Abou Haidar, is now poised to issue a decree for the complete withdrawal of these products from the market and their prohibition until the factory situation is rectified.

Nevertheless, the Economy Ministry is urged to extend the removal of the labneh products beyond the closed factories, which lack clear ingredient labeling to prevent further deception.

While this investigation focused on a small sample in the northern region, it should serve as a reminder that vigilant consumers, as well as local institutions and municipalities with established health departments, should collaborate with the Ministry to protect citizens from such fraudulent practices.

Ultimately, consumers are encouraged to be cautious, verify the components of products, and not be swayed solely by low prices, which might lead them to purchase non-compliant goods.

Lebanon News

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Labneh

Crisis

Exposed

Investigation

Dairy

Production

Factories

Lebanon

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