Environmental health practitioners take food off Ekurhuleni spaza shop shelves

Spaza shops in Ekurhuleni are being scrutinised.

Ekurhuleni environmental health practitioners have taken items which pose a health hazard, such as meat that did not indicate the sell-by date, expired and rotten food, and unlabelled frozen mixed veggies, off the shelves during the recent spaza shop inspections across the metro.

Residents carry equal responsibility in that they should adhere to the storage specifications of the food they purchase to avoid foodborne health conditions.

While it is the shop owner’s responsibility to ensure food products are properly labelled and are off the shelves as per the product specifications, the consumer carries the same responsibility of properly storing the foodstuff under the stated storage conditions.

This is to ensure the quality of food sold remains fit for human consumption.

Among the important labelling to be observant of are the words “sell-by”.

According to the regulations relating to labelling and advertising of foodstuffs (Gazette No 32975 – Regulation 146), “sell-by” means the last date of offer for sale to the consumer after which there remains a reasonable storage period at home.

This is a date marked on perishable products indicating the recommended time by which they should be sold.

The regulation further states that “best before” is the date which signifies the end of the period under any stated storage conditions during which the product will remain fully marketable and will retain any specific qualities for which tacit or express claims have been made.

 

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Nevertheless, beyond the date, the food may still be perfectly satisfactory, but to maintain the food quality, the appropriate storage instruction before and after opening should be adhered to.

The manufacturer determines the appropriate storage instruction relevant to the nature of the foodstuff, to ensure that any specific quality attributes are retained and preserved.

Nevertheless, the customer may use their own discretion either to consume or not to consume the food based on the change in smell, colouring or shape from its original form.

When the “sell-by” or “best before” dates have been reached, it does not mean that the food is necessarily dangerous, but the risk of microbiological deterioration has started to increase.

Under no circumstances should one consume or accept food that has a foul smell or is in an unpleasant form.

It is illegal and a punishable offence to sell unlabelled foods.

Residents can lodge complaints regarding the selling of unsatisfactory food products at the following health and social development offices:

• Germiston: 011 999 0347/8 or 011 999 5737 or 011 999 0530.

• Katlehong: 011 999 2347/8 or 011 999 2466.

 

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  AUTHOR
Germiston City News

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