Home » Health » Health Concerns in Masvingo As Shops Sell Expired Foodstuffs

MOST wholesales and retail shops in Masvingo city are selling expired foodstuffs, a situation that has been met with mixed feelings by their customers. Investigations by NewZimbabwe.com in major wholesalers and retail shops around the city showed that the expired foodstuffs are basic commodities mostly imports from neighbouring countries, mainly South Africa.

The goods, which include cooking oil, rice, flour and tinned foodstuffs, are finding their way into shop shelves priced at half their normal prices. Some, it has emerged, are being sold three months after their expiry dates.

A tin of baked beans which usually costs $1 before expiry, is going for $0.50 or the much preferred $1 for two tins whilst a 2 litre gallon of cooking oil, which normally costs $3, is being sold at $1.50. Masvingo City Council Chief Health Officer Zvapano Muganasa said council was worried by the patently unethical practice and the increasing number of shops dealing in expired foodstuffs.

“We carry out routine inspections on all shops operating within the city and l might say there is an increase in the number of shops selling expired commodities, which has become an issue of great concern,” Muganasa said.

“As council, once we come across such scenarios we confiscate the goods and burn them and if that shop continues with that practice, as council, we can revoke the shop’s operating licence.” He urged consumers to approach his offices once they come across such cases.

However, some of the shoppers found purchasing the expired commodities saw nothing wrong in buying the foodstuffs.

“The economy is not good. We do not have enough disposable income and we do not see any harm in buying these foodstuffs at half their actual prices,” said one of the shoppers.

A worker with one of the city’s main wholesalers said the sale of expired commodities was a purely business decision meant to limit potential losses to the merchants.

“Goods are imported in large quantities. It will not make any business sense for the company to just throw away goods that are a month or two after their expiry dates that is why they are on special offer,” said the worker, who talked on condition of anonymity.

Efforts however to seek comment from the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, a prominent lobby group for consumer rights, were fruitless.

Source : New Zimbabwe