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Season is here – Safety of consumer consumption critical

BY: Vicky Wireko
Season is here – Safety of consumer consumption critical

Traditionally, it is meant to be a beautiful season once one enters the month of December, never mind what COVID-19 has turned it into for us.

The other side of the coin, however, is that it has become a period of heightened misdeeds laced with greed and selfishness.

It is a time to watch out as consumers.

As one prepares to celebrate the season in the midst of Omicron, another variant of COVID-19, one should not downplay the misdeeds of some few ‘wanting to be rich’ individuals in our midst.

In the name of scooping profits overnight, some have found dubious ways of doing just that, irrespective of compromising the health of consumers with the intentional selling of unwholesome products.

Shopping

Before 2020, when a gloomy Christmas hit us due to the pandemic, the few months leading to Christmas had usually been characterised with active shopping and crowded city centres.

In the midst of the busyness of the season, some distributors took undue advantage to churn out expired goods at discounted prices.

I remember that a few times, when the market surveillance team of the Foods and Drugs Authority (FDA) were out there in the markets seizing expired goods and destroying same, while issuing warnings to consumers.

As I reflect on another December to remember, I have been doing some introspection bringing into perspective certain consumer and “buyer be warned” alerts appearing lately in the media.

In October, the FDA put out a warning, in the form of a release, concerning the product recall of Ceres 100 per cent Apple juice.

In collaboration with a third party, Transmed Ghana Limited, the attention of the public was drawn to an “ongoing recall of certain batches of the Ceres apple juice considered unwholesome for consumption”.

One can just imagine how many people across the country would have consumed the supposed unwholesome 100 per cent fruit drink, even before the awareness was created.

The many homes, restaurants and bars that would have served that favourite fruit juice are unimaginable, not to mention those who may have bought in large quantities to forestall any shortage for their planned events in December.

Can one discount the fact that all the recalled batches were retrieved from the market one hundred per cent? I doubt. There could have been some margins of error and that is the fear.

Consumer safety could easily be compromised in cases of product Company was recalling a flour product purportedly distributed to their depots in Kumasi, Odorkor and Adabraka, because they had a foreign material in them. What foreign material, was not disclosed.

The Company did a good job to have immediately set off the alarm seeing that only three of their depots had received the faulted flour.

However, where is the guarantee that the products were not used to bake for consumption before the alert?

While all that was going on, the FDA is said to have retrieved from the market, 270 cartons of expired non-alcoholic red and white Charme sparkling grape juice.

According to the FDA, the drinks had expired and had, thus, been retrieved with the help of the police service, after a tip off from a vigilant consumer.

As if that was not enough, the FDA on its Twitter page this week reported that they had seized some unregistered medicinal product at Madina in Accra, during a joint intelligence-led operation.

Cause

There is definitely cause for worry out there and we all would need to turn ourselves into vigilant buyers not only for this season but as a normal practice.

As consumers, we should be on the lookout all the time whenever in the market to look out for suspects bent on compromising the health status of others in their bid to make money by all means.

One’s health and safety should be in one’s own hands when out there in the market, in the trusted supermarkets and corner shops.

We shall be successful, however, if the FDA’s market surveillance team would double up its efforts to outwit any miscreant bent on making money at the expense of consumer health and safety.

They definitely will need the help of the public as informers.

It is a season to be watchful of products one buys to consume and that include what goes into gift hampers.

Writer’s E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.