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CASE: Look out for food products that have passed the expiry dates

Introduction

CASE conducted an island-wide food expiry-date survey in 42 major and small-to-medium-sized retail outlets from May to July 2004.

The objective of the survey is to gather information about pre-packed food products that have passed their use-by dates.

Regulations on Expiry Date Mark

Selling expired foodstuff is an offence under the “Food Regulations” administered by Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). Under the Regulations, no person shall import, sell, consign or deliver any pre-packed food with an expired date mark.

Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with the regulation shall be liable to a fine of not exceeding $1,000 and in the case of a second and/or subsequent conviction/s to a fine of not exceeding $2,000.

Survey Methodology

CASE conducted the food expiry-date survey in 42 major and small-to-medium-sized retail outlets that were randomly chosen from 4 sampling zones—central, north, east and west.

The major retailers surveyed comprised of supermarkets and franchised convenience stores while the small-to-medium retailers included mini-marts, provisions shops, and sundry shops.

Please refer to Annex 1 for the list of retailers surveyed. The food products that were randomly sampled are found in Annex 2.

CASE's Findings

14 out of 42 of retail outlets surveyed by CASE sold expired food products.

Of the 29 small-to-medium-sized retail outlets that CASE surveyed, 11 were found selling expired food products. 3 out of the 13 major retail outlets surveyed were found selling expired food products.

The food products marked with expired dates were mostly snacks such as biscuits and chips.

The table below is a summary of the figures.

  No. of stores surveyed No. of stores with expired food products
Major supermarkets, franchised convenience stores 13 3
Small-to-medium retail outlets / mini-marts 29 11

Annex 3 gives the list of expired food products found. These food products were purchased from among the food products sold in the retail outlets surveyed by CASE.

CASE Actions

CASE has referred this survey results to Environmental Health Department of National Environment Agency (NEA) for their necessary action.

CASE's Recommendations

By placing an expiry date on a product, the manufacturer is making a clear statement that the quality of the product is not guaranteed if consumed or used after the expiry date.

For their own safety, consumers are advised to check the expiry dates on the products they purchase. Consumers who have inadvertently purchased expired food products should quickly inform the retailer concerned. This will help prevent the sale of such products to other buyers.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) takes a serious view of anyone found selling expired foodstuff. Offenders will be dealt with under AVA’s Food Regulations. Consumers are encouraged to report retailers to the NEA should they come across such infringements.

Retailers should also take responsibility by constantly monitoring their products’ expiry dates, and understanding fully the implications of putting expired food items for sale.

Retailers should promptly return outdated stocks of food items to the manufacturers /suppliers or dispose of them in an appropriate manner.

Yeo Guat Kwang

President

CASE

More.....

Source: Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) Press Release 10 Sep 2004

 

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Saturday
11 September 2004