MASERU – The department of public health last week seized expired foodstuff from shops and restaurants in Thaba-Tseka. The Thaba Tseka senior health assistant, Tlaleng Makhang Maluke, said loads of expired foodstuffs were collected from supermarkets and hotels.
Maluke said the seized foodstuffs included canned and bottled foods, meat, spices and maize and bread flour, drinks and cooking oil. “These foodstuffs had expired a long time ago but they were still on the shelves and storage facilities to be sold to our people. What is most disturbing is that it seems people are not keen to check the expiry dates on the things they buy from the shops,” Maluke said.
Maluke said the “sale of expired food was of serious concern to the Ministry of Health as it threatened the wellbeing of the people”. She added that while it was an offence for retailers to sell expired food, very few companies had been put on trial. “We have just been warning business owners to stop selling expired food. However, none of them is complying.
We have learned that they fill the shelves with more expired goods once we step out of their shops,” she said. Maluke said that the department plans to move the operation on to other rural towns. She said the seized foodstuffs were thrown away at the Thaba-Tseka urban council dump site.
The food was soiled to ensure that people do not pick it from the dumped lot.
The Thaba-Tseka police were part of the operation that saw retailers forfeit stacks of expired groceries and other household goods. In an interview with the government-owned Lesotho News Agency, the Thaba-Tseka district police commissioner, Khethisang Koro, said that the expired goods were destroyed by the police.
He said this was meant to avoid a repeat of an incident in Maputsoe where people ate meat that had been dumped after it was seized from businesses.
Koro said what was more worrying was that most shops that sell expired food were owned by local businessmen.
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