Conditional selling must stop: Council

31/10/2011 16:22

The Consumer Council of Fiji is urging food companies that make and pack sausages not to mislead consumers by tucking away the casing ingredients in fine print.

The Council is concerned with the labeling used by the makers of Crest Chicken sausages, where the casing ingredients are in fine print and not easily read by consumers.

Crest has two types of 500g chicken sausages available in the supermarkets:

  1. Premium Chicken Sausages Pre-Cooked which states “natural lamb casing” and
  2. Chicken Sausages Pre-Cooked which states, “casing contains beef protein”.

Even though the ingredients are stated, these are not easily noticeable by consumers since it is written in fine print.

Consumers in a rush may pick up the beef casing packet thinking that it is just “chicken sausage” as the general perception is that Chicken Sausage would only contain chicken related ingredients.

While the Council appreciates the effort put in by Crest Chicken to have the information displayed unlike other sausage makers, the Council believes Crest Chicken can do a much better job by ensuring that the casing ingredient is noticeable by its customers. The Council suggests Crest Chicken should do away with the fine print of the ingredients and highlight the word “beef casing” in big bold letters on the package labeling.

Meat packaging companies and supermarkets need to be sensitive to religious, health and nutritional concerns of consumers. For instance, Hindu taboo on beef or beef ingredients should be respected and Hindu consumers should not be mislead by fine print labeling.

Meanwhile, the Council’s market surveillance, has shown that that some supermarkets pack their own chicken and lamb sausages without any ingredient labeling on the packaging. The Council is urging the Ministry of Health to step up enforcement of the food safety laws on these traders.

We are also asking consumers to choose products carefully and read all information on the packaging of food items before purchasing.