Friday 26 July 2013

When labels matter. REALLY matter.

[I think this is a fitting 1,000th blog post. Mainly because we're angry. Really angry.]

Sometimes labels matter. Sometimes they REALLY matter.

A consumer got in touch saying this:
"I am writing this as a concerned consumer and citizen.

A few months ago my fiancé and i were blessed with a beautiful baby girl you could imagine the joy we felt. The baby is now 4 months old.

Just yesterday my fiancé went into Clicks Botswana, Game City Store to buy some baby products and only to find they were running a buy 1 get 1 on some baby products, InfaCare Baby Formula to be exact. She was so excited and bought 1 x 1.8kg InfaCare Baby Formula and got the other for free. Her joy was cut short after she noticed the product expires on the 08-August-2013 which is in 2 weeks. There is no way possible my baby could drink that or even finish it before the date so this morning she is set to return the products and be refunded if they can't exchange. You can imagine how frustrated we were and glad we noticed the expiry date before feeding the baby.

Considering how sensitive infants are at what they eat, these products shouldn’t be on the shelves to start with, which can pose serious health risks to our babies and even worse.

I am therefore appealing to your office to assist or direct me to those who can. In doing so this will help those who are still to buy the product and might not pay attention to the dates thus putting their babies lives at risk."
Let's face it. Most labels are boring. Only nerds like me read labels. But sometimes labels might save your life. Or might save the life of someone much more precious. Your new-born baby.

The facts are simple. This baby formula was due to expire on the 8th August, in just two weeks. Each box contained enough formula to last about a month. The first box would have expired halfway through being used and the second, free box would have expired before even being opened. This assumes that the boxes wouldn't have sat on a shelf for a few weeks, purchased because they were a bargain.

Let me make this perfectly clear. This isn't talcum powder, baby oil or nappies. It's formula, the baby's only source of nutrition. Even though the risk is very slight, it's a baby's health at stake. Maybe its life.

We went to Clicks to have a look, just to double check and the boxes were still on display. We couldn't find any expiring on 8th August but we found several expiring on the 13th August.

We spoke to a manager at Clicks and she was perfectly pleasant and understood our concerns but said she could only take action once she had cleared it with her Head Office.

Let me say this again. It's baby formula. It's not an inert, risk-free product. It's a product that directly influences the health of babies. Waiting for guidance from Head Office is simply not good enough.

Get these things off the shelf right now.

This particular baby is lucky to have parents that are nerdy and caring enough to notice these things and understand how important they are and also neighbourly enough to try and spread the word.

We've written to the Ministry of Health asking for their advice and intervention.

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