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One in four cafes, snack bars and seafront restaurants in tourist hotspots across France are breaking hygiene rules or serving food unfit for consumption, the agriculture ministry said.

French health inspectors visiting some 9,400 food establishments found more than 2,600 to be in breach of at least one hygiene rule, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Michel Barnier told Le Parisien daily.

Warnings were issued for dirty toilets and kitchens and for poor hygiene among staff, while inspection teams carted away 30 tonnes of food unfit to serve from some 550 food shacks and restaurants.

Thirty-seven establishments were shut down altogether, for failing to meet basic hygiene and food conservation rules, and allowing staff to work in dirty clothes, Monique Eloit of the agriculture ministry’s food directorate said.

The number of eateries caught in breach of the rules was similar to last year, but the amount of food seized had more than doubled, she said.

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