[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA) has received a flood of complaints its member companies relating to the fast growing epidemic of counterfeit products being sold to unsuspecting Guyanese who are being gulled by cheaper prices.
Food products including the Made-in-Guyana staple, Golden Cream margarine, peanut butter, canned goods bearing the Del Monte brand, and beauty and hygienic products have fallen prey to this scourge.
The GMSA in a statement noted that, “Even specialized industrial equipment, spare parts, machinery and tools are being counterfeited and sold in Guyana, some bearing the brand plates of the reputable international manufacturers whose products are legally distributed in Guyana by carefully screened, well-established local companies.”
According to the GMSA, the counterfeited products fail to meet all safety requirements and across the board, they expose consumers/end users to personal injury and health-related dangers.
“The food products, when they are returned by consumers seeking replacements or repairs, are often found to be expired, and contain ingredients that do not meet the standards set by the authentic local and foreign manufacturers.”
Authorized Guyanese distributors revealed that they have been battling this problem for more than two years. Their principals in North America and Europe have since instituted legal proceedings against a few illegal importers in Guyana.
The Government Analyst Food and Drugs Department (GAFDD) as well as the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) have become involved in recent months and have destroyed products seized from local supermarkets, grocery shops and other retailers.
Those products included stocks of expired Golden Cream Margarine that were packaged in differently labelled containers which did not originate from Sterling Products Ltd.
One authorized distributor of food imports was able to identify a major supplier of counterfeited canned foods located in Ruimveldt, Georgetown and made an initial legal approach.
Another distributor of industrial equipment including the STIHL line of products actually witnessed name plates being changed out from some counterfeited products after the company, Farfan & Mendes, lodged a complaint.
F&M also said that they discovered items on sale that were very similar to the STIHL products (in appearance only) but were branded SPILL. Upon closer examination, they discovered that the counterfeit products were constructed with inferior materials most likely to cause personal injury to users.
“As if the dangers are not enough, the counterfeit products are priced to undersell the authentic, long established brands which the manufacturers spent decades building and perfecting. Their most pressing concern is that the counterfeit products will erode consumer confidence in their own after they (consumers) would have discovered that their purchases could not be repaired or replaced since they were not under the authentic manufacturers’ warranties.”
The Association has been working with its partners in Canada (TFO and CESO) and the Caribbean (Caribbean Export) to promote the manufacture of Guyanese products that meet high international quality standards.
The GMSA intends to engage the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to address complaints of counterfeit importers under-invoicing their shipments, and to request that the thorough screening applied to outgoing containers be similarly applied to incoming cargo which would help to identify the importers of counterfeit products.