Inspection of tuck shops intensified in the North West

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The nationwide outcry and allegations of the sale of expired goods at different tuck shops has prompted the Department of Economic Development in the North West to intensify its inspection program. Residents say their health is seemingly trivial, alleging that owners of tuck shops are selling stale products.

The department, which has inspected more than 100 shops in the last three months, has confirmed the sale of expired goods at some of the tuck shops. Residents allege that many tuck shops sell expired goods and have poor hygiene.

“I have returned many products such as cornflakes. They are stale and have expired. Even the drink, it’s no longer an original,” a resident says.

“Sleeping with cats inside the tuck shop is not good. Also, putting ice and soup packs with chicken in one fridge, it’s not good,” another resident says.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi recently called for the audit of all foreign owned tuck shops and condemned owners who are not complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“The other thing that we’ll inspect, no one will be allowed to stay, cook, sleep, sell and even run a church inside the spaza shop,” says Motsoaledi.

The Department of Economic Development in the province confirmed the discovery of expired goods during their recent inspections.

“Most things that we have discovered are the sale of expired food stuff. What the implication thereof is that once the manufacturer indicates that this particular product expiry on this particular date, the implication is that manufacturer is absolved from liability, if the product can be consumed after that expiry date. You cannot sue the manufacturer because he has warned in advance. The retailer will then be held liable on his own,” says Director for Consumer Economic Development Seile Letsogo.

Unfortunately, not all retailers are successfully traced as they don’t operate registered businesses.

“We do receive some complaints regarding some food staff that is allegedly unsafe for human consumption. But then when you go to a particular business, you’ve got to find a person that sold you such a product. Sometimes when you go to that business you realize it’s somebody else. They don’t trade using their business names and that becomes difficult as consumer affairs office to say that we are lodging a claim or complain against a particular person because by law we are supposed to launch the seller, who might have moved. The department has urged community members to know the name of the store and ask for receipt in case they want to lodge a complaint about unhealthy goods they bought,” Letsogo adds.

However, the tuck shop owner maintains he’s not selling expired food.

“No, we are not selling expired things. Some of them you don’t know some of them they don’t check. Us we check. We always check each and every day. For us it’s also not good to sell expired things,” says shop owner Aleess Sade.

The department has encouraged consumers to purchase labelled goods or ensure they are provided with proof of purchase in case they need to lodge a complaint.

Video: North West Economic Development Department conducts tuck shop inspections: