Saturday 2 August 2008

The Voice - Dear Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice

I went to a bar in Palapye and they had a special offer on Carlsberg beer. If you bought one bottle they would give you a second bottle free.

I thought this was a very good offer but when I got the bottle of beer and the free second one I noticed that they both had an expiry date in June this year.

What should I do?

Take them back. Demand that the owner or manager of the bar gives you your money back immediately. If they refuse feel free to tell them that they have broken Section 12 of the Food Control Act which states that beer must have an expiry date and that it the seller must abide by it. Anything sold after the expiry date “shall not be regarded as marketable or fit for human consumption”.

Any store that ignores this is liable for “a fine of P1,000 and to imprisonment for 3 months”. Better still if they ignore the warning and continue to sell expired stock they may face “an additional fine of P500 and imprisonment for one month for each day that the offence continues”. If they continue to sell dodgy beer for a month they might not be seen again for years!

Consumers have to be very vigilant when buying food and drink. OK, expired beer probably isn’t going to kill you but things like chicken, pork and seafood have to be treated very carefully. Hundreds of thousands of people in Africa die from food-poisoning every year and a lot of this comes from badly stored food.

As consumers we need the authorities to be much more aggressive in policing food and drink outlets to make sure that they know their obligations and abide by them.

Update: We did a little bar exploration following this complaint and found that the same expired beer was being sold in bars in Gaborone as well. We’ll be tracking down the distributors and seeing what they have to say for themselves. We’ll keep you posted.

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