Consumers to take caution when buying onions

The Consumer Council of Fiji is urging consumers to be cautious when buying onions from supermarkets and other retail outlets.

This comes in light of consumer concerns over “bad” onions being sold in supermarkets.

The Council responded to these concerns through a quick survey of 17 popular retail outlets in Suva, Lautoka and Labasa which found that quality of onions is an issue. Six outlets were surveyed in Suva, five in Lautoka and six in Labasa. The survey found bad quality onions in three stores which were in the Western Division.  Their managers were notified and had responded by removing the bad onions. The Council fails to understand what the floor Managers were doing in these three supermarkets?

While only three of the 17 outlets had bad quality onions, the Council’s previous market surveillance and consumer complaints point to inconsistency in the quality of onions on the shelves. On some days,  there may be perfectly good onions, on other days,  there will be rotten ones. The Council notes that the same situation exists for potatoes where there is inconsistency in quality.

Consumers are advised that consistency in quality of onions differ from supermarket to supermarket on  different  days. Consumers should also opt for loose instead of pre-packed onions  or buy from the municipal market when shopping for vegetables with other items. If consumers face the situation where loose onions are unavailable, they should carefully scrutinize the pre-packed ones and look for onions that may be rotten or discolored. Alternatively, consumers should shop around as competing supermarkets are often within walking distance of each other in most urban centres.

The Council is also urging traders to maintain consistent quality of the onions they put on the shelves. These are food items, therefore, the food safety and quality rules must apply.

Meanwhile, the Council is urging regulatory authorities, especially health inspectors in various towns to carry out regular inspections to clamp down on those traders who supply bad quality food to consumers.

Premila Kumar

Chief Executive Officer

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