Dissatisfied with the labelling inconsistencies of some canned foods displayed in shops and supermarkets across the island, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will be hosting a series of face-to-face meetings with the business community to reinforce the importance of maintaining proper labelling standards.

Director, Terry Bascombe, has announced a stepped-up education programme and an enhanced media campaign to educate the public on the benefits of maintaining correct labelling standards.

“I must admit that I am not satisfied with the overall level of compliance. There are some businesses that go all out to ensure that they meet the requirements of the legislation. However, I still find that there are too many that don’t meet the requirements. They take comfort in the fact that they just need to write a letter to the Ministry outlining reasons why the shipment did not meet the standards,” Mr. Bascombe said.

Pointing out that the penalty under the existing legislation was a fine of $50, 000 or a period of up to three years imprisonment, he expressed surprise that some supermarket owners were not au fait with the required labelling standards.

A properly labelled product, Mr. Bascombe said, must state the name of the food, the list of ingredients, name and address of the supplier, the country of origin, the manufacturers date, the expiry date of the product and the net weight of its contents.  This information he said must be written in English. 

The Director said this information was necessary in order to trace the product back to its origin if it was recalled. “Where there is a product recall you want to be able to trace its product origin, and to identify the specific lot that it came from. This is necessary because one would not want to destroy all of the products if the one that is infected only came from a particular lot number.”

He expressed the hope that following the information sessions there would be greater compliance with the department’s requirements.

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