Customers who get swayed by free promotional offers on food products need to be more watchful. A leading retail chain was found selling items with free samples of products that had passed their expiry dates.
On Friday, following a complaint by a customer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seized food products ranging from pickles and cakes to raspberry syrups, all well beyond their expiry date, from Reliance Super store at Mumbai Central.
The catch included several expired sachets of Mother Recipe garlic and ginger paste packed along with Mother Recipe mixed pickles. The expiry dates of all these sachets was May this year.
Among other items, there were also samples of Monginis Muffins and Danish Strawberry Cake, the expiry dates of which were October 24 and November 1, respectively. The Danish cakes had fungus too, and the sides of some packets were slit.
“We have seized the expired food items and are sending them for analysis. A major portion of the catch included expired free samples packed with unsuspecting items like pickles,” said Kishore Gore, Assistant Commissioner (Food), FDA who supervised the raid.
The food authority seized the expired products after they received a complaint from R B Purohit, a consumer activist. On November 6, Purohit went to Reliance Super and bought two pouches of Urja Taak – a buttermilk brand from Pune-based Kotwal Foods – under the ‘Buy one, get one free’ scheme. On examining the pouches, however, he found one of them had an expiry date of October.
“I am a regular at Reliance Super and have time and again told them about expired samples lying on their shelves. This time when I found a milk product with an expired date, I decided to set things right,” said Purohit. A member of the Consumer Guidance Society of India, Purohit immediately complained to the FDA.
As per food safety rules, items that have passed their expiry dates should be removed from shelves. “In categories where items are sold with best-before dates, it is at the discretion of the customer whether to consume the item after the date. But selling after the best-before date is not allowed,” said Vasundhara Deodhar, consumer member of Food Safety Standard Authority of India.
The Reliance Super branch manager present during the raid said that they have regular audits of their shelf products, and do not bundle expired packets with products on sale.
“It’s a mistake. We have regular audits in our store. I don’t know how these products made it to the shelf. We will definitely take stock of the situation,” said Umesh Radhakrishnan, store manager, Reliance Super.
Source: Mumbai Mirror