By Blessing Mabunda
Giyani- Following the ongoing raid against expired groceries/ food in Mopani District Municipality, which started in Giyani CBD on the 10th of September 2018, and the discovery of rotten meat in the two major retailers in Giyani, which is Mopani Spar and Boxer store, caused concerns of how long have the two retailers been selling foodstuff that’s placing the lives of customers in danger.
Giyani View spoke to food technologist, Xitshembiso Baloyi who strongly condemned the behaviour by retailers that sell foodstuff that’s harmful to consumers.
Baloyi said the department of health should be responsible in condemning expired foodstuff, with relevant weights and issue a certificate.
“They should make sure that the products are completely destroyed so that no one has access to it. What I see on the pictures is high risk of community food poisoning.
“Surely the retailers have procedure regarding this. Consumer protection Act that is, what may happen now may be a fine to the retailers, which is still unfair as the community is still at risk.
“The department of health is failing us really. They should be doing more than this. They should be taking swabs, sending products away for testing and not just a pat on the back to retailers like what they are doing”, said Baloyi.
During the raid, Mopani District Municipality (MDM), Executive Mayor, Nkakareng Rakgoale, was accompanied by the Mopani District Municipality’s Environmental Health Practitioners, SARS officials, SAPS and other sector departments.
The Mayor found that, meat was packed on a dysfunctional fridge, and some were stashed alongside expired diary products in another room.
Cllr Rakgoale told the media that, the municipality is not fighting the shops which the expired groceries/ food were found, but the shops should comply with Consumer Protection Act, and expired groceries shouldn’t be kept safe or be still on the shelves.
“We will only shutdown the shops, if they don’t comply with Consumer Protection Act, from today (Monday) henceforth.
“They said to us, they keep these expired groceries/ food because they are giving it to a number of None profit organizations around Giyani, and we said no, this should come to an end. It put the lives of our people to a greater risk.
“We will be visiting the 5 municipalities in Mopani District”, concludes Rakgoale.
According to Mopani District Municipality Spokesperson, Witness Tiva, the confiscated stuff have been disposed at an undisclosed location within the district.
Tiva added that all retailers small or big were examined in Giyani, and retailers which were found to be contradicting the Consumer Protection Act, were issued warning certificates.
The operation follows a public outcry that was sparked by a video of an Indian shop operator who was found selling expired groceries that was circulated on social media platforms.
There is now a national directive that Environmental Health Practitioners must embark on inspection blitzes within their respective municipalities.
The operation targets all shops owned by both local and foreign nationals.
Meanwhile, Boxer’s inland general manager Philemon Ngcongwane told SABC that internal investigations show that the meat was not rotten and the fridge was working. Environmental health practitioners had found that the fridge was at zero degrees Celsius.
Mopani Spar wasn’t reached for comment at the time of going to press.