Consumers are urged to check the quality of meat products and the hygiene of its storage when they are out shopping.
This comes as a concern when the Council while carrying out its market surveillance found that there is a growing disregard of hygiene practices required under the Food Safety Act 2003 and Food Safety Regulation 2009 by a number of supermarkets across the country.
“We surveyed 22 supermarkets and alarmingly found numerous issues not only in regards to putrid meat but also rotten fruits and vegetables. The Council also identified gross infestation of cockroaches around the food storage display areas, butcher sections and potato/onion display areas,” Consumer Council of Fiji CEO Seema Shandil said.
Traders are selling low quality meat at exorbitant prices, and have also started vending meat and other food products which are unfit for consumption as they are either partly damaged, rotten or decayed.
“What concerns the Council most is that thawed and deteriorated meat products being displayed for sale in the meat section is a recurring issue, which the supermarkets’ management seriously need to look into,” Mrs Shandil added.
The Council applauds the Lautoka Municipal Council’s Health Department for their quick response in removing a hefty amount of deteriorated meat products from supermarkets in Lautoka and issuance of abatement notices.
The Council will continue to be on the lookout and work with relevant Food Authorities to make sure that the supermarkets adhere to Food Safety Regulations at all times.
“Additionally we will not hesitate to name and shame unscrupulous traders, should they continue to retail unsafe, unhygienic and unfit meat, fruits and vegetables. “
Consumers are also urged to exercise responsibilities and carefully inspect the meat before buying as they deserve quality food products that are worth their money and safe to consume.
“Food Safety and health continues to be the forefront of the Council’s consumer protection effort and we believe that this ongoing issue can only be solved through introducing quality standards for meats and also other food products. “