elpais.com – In the past two months, police officers on beach duty in Barcelona have filed 7,217 reports of hawkers peddling food and drink to vacationers. Earlier this week, EL PAÍS published the results of a laboratory analysis of these products by MicroBac, which revealed a high content of fecal bacteria, known as E.Coli, in much of the beach fare on sale.
In the mojitos, for example, there was an E. Coli count of 720, a figure which, according to European regulations should be under 10, while some sandwiches had a count of 6,000 – a level which should legally not be above 1,000.
Meanwhile, down at the beach, little has changed, despite intense media coverage. The hawkers continued to play cat and mouse among the towels and parasols with the 90 officers assigned to Barcelona’s beaches on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, down at the beach, little has changed, despite intense media coverage
One group of men was mixing drinks on the beach before they were interrupted. “This is where they make their mojitos,” said one officer, pointing to the plastic glasses, ice, mint and bottles of rum and lemonade left behind on the sand. Along with the 7,217 reports filed during June and July, authorities have seized as many as 133,622 drinks, according to City Hall, 20% up on last year.
“These guys know that their clients are the millions of foreigners that come to the city,” says an officer on the Barceloneta beach. Nearby, a plain-clothed policewoman stopped a young Pakistani man bearing a tray of lurid green drinks. “Come with me,” she tells him and, away from the crowds, she proceeds to empty the cups and the contents of a bottle of rum onto the sand before filing her report.
It wasn’t the policewoman’s first catch of the day. Several hours earlier, she had fined another hawker, though as she admits, the fine is little more than a formality.
Dude…what the fuck….doo doo snacks and E. Coli mojitos?! The hell is goin on in Barcelona