By Ndey Sowe
Lamin Jaiteh, Principal Scientific Officer at the Food Safety and Quality Authority The Gambia (FSQA) has warned that any importer or food business operator caught selling expired food will face justice.
He said: “If they are found selling it to the public and they are found wanting, the authority will take its legal stance and that includes prosecution”.
“If they are to sell any product that is expired and the authorities happen to find out that it is happening if you are a repeated offender, the authority will take a legal stance against those candidates”, he said, adding that this includes even major importers.
Jaiteh was speaking to this reporter on Thursday, 27th August 2020 in the wake of reports that expired foods were being sold to the public in the market.
He added food operators should ensure that all products in their stores are for sale and the specified storage requirements are observed and that they should conform to requirements concerning expiry dates.
He advised that if they have expired food in large quantities, they should notify the authority to provide them with safe mechanism for disposal, and if the product is in small quantity, they should take it upon themselves to dispose of it.
He urged the general public to adopt the habit of reading product labels and storage conditions before they buy food products. He added this is to ensure that the product they are buying is actually kept in the right storage temperatures.
Regarding COVID, he said up to date there is no evidence to show that Covid-19 can be transmitted through food. He further urged the public to continue to follow the / advice of health experts.
He quickly advised the public to be cooking their food at the right temperatures which are 60 degree Celsius and not to keep their foods between 5 degrees celsius to 65 degrees celsius.
He added people should not place food between 6 to 65 degrees celsius because these are the temperatures that are ideal for microbiological growth and multiplication.
The Gambia’s main regulatory institution FSQA disclosed that they are launching a crackdown on food business operators that are involved in selling expired food products.
He said companies and food operators sometimes resort to flooding the markets with food items that are on the verge of expiring instead of disposing them.