Council warns retailers of rotten produces

20/12/2019 09:04

The Consumer Council of Fiji is warning suppliers and supermarkets to refrain from selling rotten fruits, vegetables and putrid meat that are exposing consumers to potential health risks this festive season.

 The call comes after joint inspections with municipal councils discovered that some suppliers and supermarkets are still not compliant with the Food Safety Act 2003 and Food Safety Regulation 2009.

 Issues discovered included poor lighting within the warehouse which did not enable sanitary practices, and staff working without hairnets, face masks and hand gloves. The Council also discovered that food was being packed under insanitary conditions and some of the food was unfit for consumption. This included meat, rotten potatoes and onions. Upon the Council’s intervention, the health inspectors condemned the rotten potatoes, onions and putrid meat. These unscrupulous traders and suppliers were also issued with abatement notices to ensure compliance.

 Moreover, it is evident that some supermarkets are re-packaging and selling partially rotten produce. Supermarkets are cutting out the rotten portions of the fruits and vegetables before repacking them and selling them to consumers at a slightly lower price.

 “What’s worrying is that some of the retail outlets who are habitual offenders just get away with a slap on the wrist with a warning letter. Therefore, the Council is calling for harsher penalties for traders who ignore fair trading and food safety laws for commercial gains particularly those traders who are repeat offenders,” the Council said yesterday.

 Furthermore, consumers are advised to be cautious when purchasing fruits and vegetables, especially those that have been pre-packed.

Consumers can be the eyes and ears of the Council and report any supermarket selling putrefied meat, rotten fruits and vegetables on the National Consumer Helpline toll-free number, 155.