The number of Chinese business investments, specifically in supermarkets, have increased which have also triggered a hike in complaints against such businesses by locals about the quality of items being sold.
In an interview with this Online Publication on Saturday, Director of the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD), Marlon Cole told this publication that several complaints have been filed by customers as they were sold expired items among others.
According to him, complaints received by the agency would usually be related to the use of foreign language by those business owners or employees, therefore resulting in a communication barrier as well as products being labelled in foreign languages. Some products, Cole said, even had expiry dates tampered with to extend same, while complaints have also been made of certain food items being stored in close proximity to others.
Last November, a Chinese supermarket owner who operates on the East Coast of Demerara, was fined $60,000 when he appeared before the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court to answer to three charges of tampering with food items.
The Director of the GA-FDD was unable to say if any other proprietors have since been hauled before the courts for similar matters.
Yuhai Lin of Lin Supermarket admitted that he repackaged foods under unsanitary conditions, sold expired products and tampered with the labels of milk products. Lin was fined $60,000 for the three offences.
Criminal proceedings were instituted against the proprietor in accordance with the laws of Guyana – Food and Drug Act of 1971, Chapter 34:03, Section 35.
Under this law, Part II (5), it states: “Any person who sells an article of food that is unfit for human consumption or was manufactured, prepared, packaged or stored under the unsanitary condition is guilty of an offence”. Part II (6) of the Act went on to outline that: “Any person who labels, packages, treats, processes, sells or advertises any food in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression regarding its character, value, quality, composition, merit or safety is guilty of an offence.”
The owner of the embattled supermarket was busted one month prior to being arraigned during an inspection exercise on the East Coast of Demerara, on October 5, 2018.
The GA-FDD is calling on consumers to pay closer attention to the expiry dates on products being sold.