Consumer Council of Fiji Chief Executive Seema Shandil is calling on retailers to stop hiding their unethical practices behind the words ‘mistake’ or ‘unintentional.’
Shandil says that during their festive season surveillance, they have noticed that the issues picked up by the teams have been recurring for the past few years.
The Council received 333 complaints with a monetary value of $655,000 from December 1st until last week.
Shandil says apart from making excuses, some retailers also find it easy to blame their employees.
“All retailers, all supermarkets, all big retailers need to have certain policies and procedures implemented so that customers are not sold what they are not paying for. They are asking a price and customers are ready to pay a price, but yet we see a lot of breaches of Food Safety Act 2003.”
Shandil highlights that during their festive period survey, they found a retailer selling approximately 28 expired items.
“The dates were best before in October and it was still being retailed. There should be a certain time period that they should stop retailing these items. But what we saw was that it was still in the freezer, it was still on the shelves. They were still retailing these products.”
Shandil claims this looks like an intentionally unethical practice as mistakes can only happen once.
The Trade Ministry has formed a Food Safety Taskforce with the primary function of identifying issues and implementing stringent regulations and policies to safeguard consumers from these recurring problems.