Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton has announced that items in supermarkets and shops across the nation that do not bear labels will no longer be tolerated to be distributed to consumers.
The customary act of shop owners, especially small businesses retailing large quantity of goods into small packages without bearing a label or an unidentifiable label, will no longer be accepted by the Public Health Ministry.
Norton disclosed that all retailing of food items will have to be approved by the Food and Drug Department (FDD) of the Ministry before it can be packed unto shelves.
Norton recalled, “You used to go in a supermarket and buy peas in a bag with no writing on it, buy rice in a bag with no writing on it or anything on a bag with no writing on it”. He emphasised that this will no longer be acceptable, since the law would be enforced upon offenders.
Norton reiterated, “The law says you must state what is in the packages and the necessaries”. He is also urging small shops to have their licences in order, since they will not be allowed to operate without one. He articulated that unlicenced businesses are the ones that usually provide unhygienic items to the public because they don’t adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures.
Meanwhile, Minister Norton added that milk being sold loosely in unlabelled packages is unfortunate and will soon come to a halt. “We are going to insist that all who are importing milk and retailing it, comply with the regulations. Conditions must be certified by FDD, meaning they need infrastructure to be in place, the machine that actually does the packaging, they ought to have that in place and apart from that, they must also label it,” the Minister said.
Norton further noted that “all of our local stuff have labels from coconut water to crab oil, so everything we sell, we must put a label on it”. Minister Norton stressed that this is what the law requires.
In 2015, The Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) had advised consumers against purchasing powdered milk in unlabelled and transparent bags.
According to the FDD, “The sale of milk powder in this manner is in breach of the Food and Drug Act 1971 and the Food and Drug Regulation 1977 and any person who sells Powdered Milk in unlabelled, transparent plastic bags are guilty of an Offence”.
The press statement warned retailers to discontinue the practice of repackaging milk without being in possession of a permit to repackage.