Businessman threatens legal action over entry refusal of containers from Canada

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East Coast Demerara businessman Faizal Iqbal Alli has threatened legal action against the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department over its refusal to allow entry of four containers of food items from Canada.

The businessman has several more containers on the way to Guyana and is hoping for a resolution of the issues. He said the perishable items in the seized containers are valued at $40 million and if they perish or are lost, “legal proceedings would be an inevitability.”

The Food and Drug Department said its decision to deny entry of the containers follows several complaints by consumers and many attempts by the Department’s inspectors to conduct inspections and locate several bonds operated by Mr. Alli. The seizure was also against the backdrop of allegations of malpractices perpetrated by the importer in question.

The containers were denied entry, the Department said after it was able to check samples of the items on October 25 and October 30. The Department said expiry dates were deliberately removed and extended with a date marking machine while some products were deliberately removed from the original container or packages and placed into bulk container void of labelling details. All of these items, the Department said, were suspected to be expired or short-dated.

Alli has categorically denied each and every allegation made against him and the products. He did so in a letter through his attorney Anil Nandlall to Marlan Cole, Director of the Food and Drug Department.

The businessman said he has been importing a wide variety of food items, beverages and other consumables on a large scale for over a decade and has only once been the subject of such allegations.

The Department has publicized five items it said belonged to Alli, but the businessman said two of the items were not imported by him and therefore could not have been in his containers.

The businessman wants the Food and Drug Department to furnish him with a list of the products which are deemed to be objectional and the reason for the objections. At the same time, he wants the release of products from the containers to which the objections “cannot possibly apply” because they are non-food items.

The businessman also noted that he is prepared to retain, at his own expense, a duly qualified food analyst of international recognition who will conduct a physical and chemical analysis of the food items in the presence of the government agency.

Alli is seeking a response by Tuesday, November 12; if none is received, he said he will take legal action without further notice.

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