Offences relating to food safety have soared in France’s premier region for tourism, the Alpes-Maritimes region, in the southeast of the country.

Public health authority and trading standard officers have seized 2.6 tonnes of foodstuffs since the holiday season began, more than four times the amount seized last year during the same period.

The concerted “Food on Holiday” investigation saw inspections being carried out in restaurants, other catering establishments, fish quay markets and fastfood outlets set up during public events. In 37% of cases, the temperatures recorded in cold store facilities varied by more than 6 degrees C while 27% of establishments fell short of standards relating to the cleaning and disinfection of premises and equipment.

The French authorities handed out fines to 31 establishments, around 10% of the total number inspected, and ordered 13 of them to close. A listeria warning was also issued regarding sandwich making in the region.

The strong growth in the amount of foodstuffs seized is largely due to more inspections being carried out in smaller towns in the Alpes-Maritimes area whereas until now these have been focussed on the major tourist centres such as Cannes and Nice.