LACK of sensitization on the dangers of consuming expired products has contributed to the continued presence of such products on the market, says Solwezi district business association coordinator Smith Kalota.
Mr Kalota said there was very little consumer education about the effects of damaged or expired products which were sold occasionally at a discounted price to the people.
He said some people deliberately opted to buy the expired products because of the redused prices without paying much attention to the side effects of such consumables.
“It is very unfortunate that many people do not understand the consequences of consuming expired products especially food items, because they actually seem to choose such products without care of such things as expiry dates. “It is unhealthy to eat expired food but people do not know that, they are ignorant about it,” he said. He explained that even the big international supermarkets have sometimes opted to simply reduce prices of some items about to expire.
Mr Kalota was comenting on the recent raid where the Consumer Competition and Protection Commission (CCPC) announced a seizure of expired drinks from Solwezi outlets.
He said traders who sold expired products have since taken advantage of people’s ignorance and continued to put on shelf such products. He charged that SODBA was concerned with the high illiteracy levels in the region which was affecting the consumers’ ability to choose quality.
He called on the Government through the various departments to enhance consumer education especially on the effects of buying damaged or expired products including food.
Early in the week, CCPC in Solwezi district seized assorted beverages valued over K1, 700 from a renowned lodge because the drinks were expired and unfit for human consumption.
Such acts were a violation of the Foods and Drugs Act CAP 303 of the laws of Zambia and the Section 49 and 50 of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act number 24 of 2010, and anybody found wanting was likely to face prosecution because of dealing in expired products.
Among the drinks seized included bottles of Redds, bottles of Sprite, caned Minute Maid, Coke zero and caned Schweppes among others.
The seizure was conducted after a tip-off from alert members of the public who were sold the alleged expired drinks, and the commission has warned of such random inspections across the province to ensure that products being sold to the public are safe and of high quality.