The Government Analyst- Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) is advising consumers and the general public against the importation, distribution, sale and use of a deceptive, misleading and foreign labelled brand of sweetened condensed milk. This milk is labelled – “Nouveau ! New ! Promex Nova Leite Condensado Cheio”.
This is not pure sweetened condensed milk exclusively from a dairy (animal) source / origin, but it is actually what is termed a Filled Milk. Filled Milk is a mixture of milk solids and edible vegetable oil and this fact must be clearly stated on the label for consumers to know or be aware of.
In addition, the label of any sweetened condensed filled milk cannot (should not) depict a pictorial representation of a cow or any other dairy animal and must carry a disclaimer “Not suitable for children less than 2 years”. Such a disclaimer is necessary, because the digestive system of children is not sufficiently developed to process its contents.
This product –Promex Nova, therefore is a very serious public health risk to consumers, more so, when the true common name to represent its composition is omitted and the label sets out to be deceptive, misleading and in a foreign language.
According to the Laws of Guyana Food and Drugs Act Chapter 34:03 Part IV: “Condensed milk or sweetened condensed milk shall be milk, or a milk product, from which water has been evaporated and to which sugar has been added, and shall contain not less than:- 28.0 per cent of milk solids and 8.0 per cent of milk fat; and may contain Vitamin D”.
Also, part II (6) (1) of the Food and Drug Act states 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 members of our National Food Safety and Control Committee from all regions in Guyana were briefed on the circulation of this product at our previously held virtual meeting on June 10, 2020 and were advised to take enforcement action (seizure) against this product. If or when intercepted at any of our ports of entry or in the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) – Customs ASYCUDA system, same will be refused entry for sale and use on our local market.
The Department is hereby reminding all importers, distributors and wholesalers not to engage in the practice of trading products intended for use by Guyanese consumers that are deceptive, misleading or labelled in a foreign language. These are all practices prohibited by the laws of Guyana Food and Drug Act Chapter 34:03 and legal action can and will be taken against defaulters in the very best interest of the public’s health and consumer safety.
Consumers are also being advised, especially during this period with restrictions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, to pay closer attention to labels and not to purchase items that are improperly labelled or those that are in a foreign language (no English).