Residents warned to be vigilant when buying from spaza shops

Residents of the City of Ekurhuleni have been warned to exercise caution when buying products from spaza shops. This as a spate of incidents has left at least six children dead and several others hospitalised around the country ,allegedly as a result of consuming expired or counterfeit goods from spaza shops and street hawkers.

The City of Ekurhuleni said: “The City’s Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) have intensified food hygiene and safety inspections at food handling premises to stop the practice. The city encourages the public to buy foodstuffs only sold from premises that have a Certificate of Acceptability. This certificate is only issued after inspections are conducted and the premises meets all food safety requirements.”

The following are markings that can be used to identify whether food stuff is still fresh to eat:

Date of minimum durability (“Best Before” or “Best Before End”), which means the date which signifies the end of the period under any stated storage condition during which the product will remain fully marketable and will retain any specific qualities for which claims have been made.

Beyond the date, the food may still be perfectly satisfactory. These foodstuffs do not require to be removed from the shelves and can be sold for human consumption.

“Sell by” or “display until” means the last day of offer for sale to the consumer, after which there remains a reasonable storage period at home.

The food that has past the sell by or display until date must be removed from the shelves and must not be sold for human consumption to the public.

“Use By” (Best Consumed Before, recommended last consumption Date, Expiry Date) means the date which signifies the end of the estimated period under the stated storage conditions, after which the product probably will not have the quality attributes normally expected by the consumers and after which date the food should not be regarded as marketable.

These foodstuffs must be removed from the shelves and must not be sold for human consumption to the public. Some foods are exempted from date markings. These include some alcoholic products, chewing gum, fruits and vegetables that have not been peeled or treated and sugars.

Residents are encouraged to report any shop selling expired or counterfeit products to the City of Ekurhuleni environmental health offices.

“The public is also discouraged from playing the role of an EHP by inspecting and seizing foodstuff from the shops as this is impersonation of a EHPs. In terms of the Health Professions Act, 56 of 1974 no person shall perform any act deemed to be an act pertaining to any registerable health profession, such as environmental health profession,” the city said.


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