VIDEO: City Council breaks stalls, seizes expired goods at Stabroek Market

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By Bibi Khatoon

Cases of expired goods were carted away from the Stabroek Market Thursday afternoon by inspectors of the City Council’s Meat, Food and Hygiene section.

The officers made an impromptu visit to the market just after midday where juices, flavoured water, chocolates and other confectionaries with expiry dates from as far as 2016, were seized.

Chief Meat and Food inspector (ag), Onicka Allen-Blackman told News Room that the items are being bought by the vendors and sold to unsuspecting customers at a cheaper cost. Majority of the times, those customers are school children.

When the officers arrived at the location, many vendors locked their stalls and left the area but this did not deter the inspectors who instead broke the doors to the stalls.

Inside one of the stalls at the first entrance of the Stabroek Market, cases of ICool, Tampico and chocolates were removed –nothing was left in the stall after the inspection.

Allen-Blackman said that there are no penalties for being in possession of or selling expired items. The items are just seized and destroyed.

The vendors did not object to their items being seized and did not prevent the inspectors from doing their job.

Some of the vendors claim that they purchase items from various wholesalers and they believe these are the persons who need to be targeted.

In response, Allen-Blackman said, “we do inspect the wholesale companies, it just so happens that at the time of inspections, these items are not found.”

She alleged that “maybe they are at some other outlying locations that are not within Georgetown and they have the fresher stocks here so when we check those locations, it could be that we see items that have reasonable dates but then where the others are coming from.”

The inspector urged members of the public to check for expiry dates on items to safeguard themselves.

While some vendors welcomed the initiative since the expired goods are oftentimes sold to school children, others accuse the council of seizing the items to convert to their own use.

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