Limpopo NCC inspectors remove expired goods from shelves

‘Team discovered widespread non-compliance’

NCC spokesperson Phetho Ntaba
NCC spokesperson Phetho Ntaba

Expired baby food, sweets, cool drinks, noodles, snacks, tinned foodstuff and juices were among consumables found by health inspectors being sold in shops in Limpopo.

The National Consumer Commission (NCC), which has started a national compliance inspections campaign to ensure that unsafe and expired goods are removed from the shelves, made this discovery at shops it visited in Seshego, Mankweng, Turfloop, Lebowakgomo and Polokwane in the Capricorn district municipality area.

Officials from departments of labour, health and home affairs (immigration office), police, environmental health practitioners formed part of the inspections.

NCC spokesperson Phetho Ntaba said the items confiscated during their first stop were too risky to the health of consumers. 

“These items had the potential of causing harm and compromise the health of consumers. There is an equally reprehensible practice that the inspection uncovered, which is the retention of the goods past date markings and continuing to sell them to consumers at discount prices. 

“In the areas inspected, the team discovered there is widespread non-compliance, especially of goods that have passed their sell-by, use-by or best-before dates. The non-compliant goods were duly confiscated and will be destroyed, said Ntaba, adding that further enforcement action will also be taken against shop owners.

The NCC said these suppliers were self-serving and not driven by consumer interest. 

The other common practice discovered was shops that did not display the prices of goods, making it difficult for consumers to know the price beforehand to exercise their right to choose.

Section 23(3) of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) provides that suppliers of goods and services must not display any goods for sale without displaying to the consumer a price in relation to those goods.

Ntaba said their team has also discovered that suppliers do not issue sales records/receipts or that their sales records/receipts are not consistent with the provisions of the CPA.

A sales receipt, according to the CPA, must have the name of the supplier, VAT number (if any), address of the premises, date on which the transaction occurred, name and description of any goods or services supplied, unit price of the goods, quantity, total price before any applicable taxes and total of the transaction, including applicable taxes.

The NCC said there were also incidents of bundled goods where consumers did not enjoy the benefit of savings when buying in bulk as envisaged by the CPA.

The NCC’s acting commissioner Hardin Ratshisusu, said: “Failure to issue sales records deprives the consumer of their right to return the goods in a case of a product failure where quality is compromised.

“We want to remind suppliers to comply with the provisions of the CPA. The NCC will continue with its efforts to ensure a fair marketplace by taking non-compliant suppliers to task.

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