Beware of unscrupulous retailers, bad meat

?CAPTION: Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Premila Kumar.?

The Consumer Council of Fiji is alerting consumers to always exercise caution during their daily shopping.

This comes after the Council latest market surveillance found problems with some supermarkets in the Suva ? Nausori corridor. The Council is also receiving complaints from consumers in regards to bad meat products and sale of substandard quality of food items.

The Council is warning traders that apart from our normal market surveillance work, consumers are also providing information on unscrupulous business practices.

We are further urging consumers to not only focus on saving while shopping but also consider the quality of the products they purchase. In one incident last weekend, a consumer bought a pack of sliced chicken from a supermarket in Valelevu. The chicken was meant for his family?s dinner, but they ended up with the doctors when they got sick after consuming the meat.

The supermarket initially tried to offer compensation of $150, but reneged on this and referred the matter to its head office. The supermarket argued that other consumers who had bought the chicken did not get sick and that there was no concrete evidence that the particular chicken purchased at its outlet was the cause of the family?s sickness. The Council has referred the matter to the Ministry of Health.

Our market surveillance this week revealed that the same trader was selling expired yogurt. The Council has forwarded the item to the Ministry of Health?s Food Unit for enforcement and imposing of penalties.

The Council is asking consumers to carefully check items such as canned food for dents, expiry dates, and the condition of the cans in supermarkets. Consumers also need to be aware of cut fruits and rotten potatoes that pose health and safety risks.

Caution must also be exercised when buying dairy products such as liquid milk and yogurt. If you find that there are lumps in the milk or it gives off foul odour and the like, you are to immediately raise the issue with the trader or the manufacturer. Consumers can also bring it to the attention of the Council, Ministry of Health or to their nearest municipal council office.

In all instances, the consumer must retain his or her evidence of purchase, such as receipts, in order to be compensated for his or her loss.?

Premila Kumar

Chief Executive Officer