-analyst dep’t makes big seizure

An alert has been issued to consumers by the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department to carefully examine the labels of food items for expiry/best before dates and other defects after tampering was discovered in Region Six.

According to a press release issued through GINA, the alert comes in the wake of a recent visit to Region Six by officers of the department, who along with officers of the New Amsterdam Town Council and the Regional Environmental Health Department seized a huge quantity of expired, unlicensed, unlabelled, improperly labelled, misbranded and other defective foods from shelves of supermarkets and large grocery stores throughout the region.

The press release said that it was discovered that some unscrupulous distributors and proprietors had tampered with expiry dates by wiping them off (probably with alcohol), cutting them off the label, concealing them under price tags or affixing new expiry dates.

Articles found to be tampered with included Club Social salted crackers, Kraft real mayonnaise, Kraft creamy French salad dressing, Golden Cream margarine, Glow Spread margarine, Cadbury milk chocolate, Sqezy dishwashing liquid and Nestle Lactogen infant formula.

Expired articles seized included: 33 bottles of Classic peanut butter, 145 tubs of Golden Cream margarine, 10 tubs of Golden Cream lite margarine, 39 tubs of Glow Spread, 25 tubs of Baker’s Pride shortening, 45 sachets of Nestle instant coffee, 72 packets of 26g Dux crackers, 7 tubs of Phalka ghee, 16 bottles of Swiss tomato ketchup and 16 packets of Mini Chips Ahoy cookies.

The officers also seized 14 bottles of Tampico citrus punch, 26 packets of Fernleaf milk powder, 18 packets Ice cola drink crystals, 28 bottles of Sqezy dishwashing liquid, Anchor vegetarian cheddar slices, 66 bottles of Ocean Spray cranberry drink, 558 packets of 26g Club Social crackers, 18 packets Briggen and Fortin white oats, 15 cans Unico red kidney beans, 11 bottles Ragaman energy drink, 21 cans macaroni and cheese, 11 bottles Kraft mayonnaise, 9 cans pure vegetable ghee and 24 tubs Axion cleaner that had expired.

Unlicensed, improperly labelled or misbranded articles seized included 34 bottles of Abdul Bilall cassava cassareep, 34 bottles of J.B. Seaforth cassava cassareep, 15 bottles of J.B. Seaforth mixed essence, 190 tins of Rich sardines in tomato sauce, 108 tins of Royal Queen sardines in tomato sauce, 122 bottles of J.B. Seaforth white vinegar and 13 bottles of Tri Star white vinegar. Additionally, the release stated that 106 unlicensed items were seized.

Proprietors, managers and other operators of retail outlets are being advised to promptly remove defective foods from their shelves and to make the necessary arrangements for their immediate destruction. A product should not be offered for sale after its stated expiry date since that is the date guaranteed by the manufacturer for the safety and quality of the product.

Likewise, wholesalers and distributors are encouraged to desist from offering for sale to retailers, articles of foods which are close to expiry. Foods at the time of importation should have at least 70% of their shelf life. Proper stock rotation – first in-first out – should be practised at warehouses.

The department intends to carry out campaigns throughout the country and is appealing to operators of wholesale/retail outlets to be more vigilant, and to conduct business in a fair and just manner.

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