Consumer Commission reveals tampering with expired food labels

BY NATALI IVERSON - AUGUST 13, 2014

A National Consumer Commission investigation has revealed that 84 major retailers in Mpumalanga and the North West have been tampering with expired food labels.

Chain stores such as Shoprite, OK Foods, Spar and U-save have been found guilty of altering, replacing or removing labels from expired food products such as eggs, milk, cheese, meat, baby formula and biscuits in order to keep them on the shelves. The Commission has also discovered that some labels were handmade with incorrect expiry dates and placed over the original ones.

According to the Times, this has put consumers at risk of diarrhoea and vomiting, and can, in severe cases, even cause death.

"Generally speaking, the vulnerable sectors of the population - young children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women - are more susceptible to food poisoning,” said food microbiologist food safety expert, Lucia Anelich.

Under the Consumer Protection Act, to alter, falsify or remove a food label is an offence and those found guilty can spend up to 12 months in prison or receive a fine of up to one million rand.

Prudence Moilwa, the Commissions Head of Investigation, has said that the stores found guilty, have signed forms admitting to the offence, and promised to correct the practise of false labelling.

Speaking to the Times, Spar Group Merchandise executive, Mike Prentice said that, “All of the Spar stores are actually owned by the independent retailers and are therefore managed separately and are not owned by Spar the listed company. As a result, they do not have reporting channels on all events that take place at store level.”

The Consumer Commission has expressed its shock at the discovery and plans to extend their investigation to the whole of South Africa.

 

 

 Photo courtesy of www.savinglifestyle.com