Be vigilant of best before dates

2016-04-06 06:00
The 500ml cooldrinks from Dukuza Supermarket which had reached and passed their best before dates with shop owner Salim Kharodia looking on in the background.Photo: Makhosandile Zulu

The 500ml cooldrinks from Dukuza Supermarket which had reached and passed their best before dates with shop owner Salim Kharodia looking on in the background.Photo: Makhosandile Zulu

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ON Monday morning, the Weekly was alerted about a shop – Dukuza Supermarket - on the corner Hulett and Cato Streets, in KwaDukuza – that has been selling cooldrinks that have passed their best before dates.

Furthermore, the dates on the cooldrinks have been purposefully removed and the price of the cooldrinks reduced to R6.

Shop owner, Salim Kharodia was cornered at the taxi rank by irate customers who had learned about the products’ best before dates after purchasing a 500ml of cooldrink from a vendor.

The vendor, who asked to remain anonymous, said he usually purchases his stock from Dukuza Supermarket and had not paid any attention to the best before dates.

He said when purchasing the products he had not been informed that they had passed the best before date.

Kharodia admitted to removing the dates on the 500ml bottles and said they had passed the dates by an estimated 25 days.

He claimed this was the first time he had sold a product which had passed its best before date and said there were several other cooldrinks still in stock.
The Weekly confirmed this by visiting the shop and found a fridge full of 500ml cooldrinks which had no best before dates.

An official with the health department, who asked to speak on anonymity, said the best before and expiry dates are guides and do not mean that the food is harmful to the consumer.

He said these dates mean the products may begin to lose their quality but people can still consume them. This, however, is not applicable to all products, he said.

The official said perishable foods deteriorate quickly while other products may take up to three months. Bottled and canned foods are some examples of products that have a longer shelf life, he said.

Asked what recourse consumers can take in instances where products they purchased and consumed caused them ill-health, the official said it would have to be medically proven first before the customers can pursue legal action.

He said it is not illegal to sell products that have passed their best before or sell by dates and that the shop owner can reduce the price to ensure that the product is sold quickly.

However, the official stated that it is illegal for the shop owner to alter the best before dates because that constitutes misleading the customer.

According to the official, inspectors from the health department do perform regular inspections to ensure that shops comply with prescribed standards.

The official said instances where products are found to have reached or passed the best before date the manager is advised to either remove or sell the products within a time period where they are still safe to consume.
However, the manager has to clearly indicate to customers that the product has reached its best before date and that the price reduction is the cause of that. He said the main issue is to educate managers on how to handle such matters.

Kharodia later claimed that the cooldrinks that had passed their best before dates had been discarded.
He said he had put up a sign notifying customers that the cooldrinks had passed their best before dates.

Customers are urged to be on the look out for best before, or expiry, dates that have been tampered with.

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