According to the Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA), a total of 17 businesses were closed last year for failing to meet safety standards while 104 expired food products were confiscated.
This was disclosed to the media by Bai Dodou Jallow, the director of scientific affairs FSQA, as he addressed journalists, following reports that Alvihag Supermarket is selling expired food commodities.
Mr Jallow admitted that FSQA had cases with Alvihag last year but that was purely about issues of hygiene and not necessarily about expired commodities. He said Alvihag is considered a high-risk Supermarket because of the number of people coming there on a daily basis. “This year, we have not had any issues with the entity and there have been regular inspections because our prime responsibility is to ensure the food people eat is safe and hygienic,” Jallow said. He said the authority has taken an uncompromising stand against offenders. “We have clearly defined rules and regulations and the moment businesses are found wanting they will be dealt with accordingly without fear or favour,” he said.
He said apart from the inspections, the authority also holds sensitisation workshops for businesses especially supermarkets on their rules and regulations and called on the public to work closely with his institution and report cases when they come across them.
Mary Johnson director of regulatory affairs, said the FSQA has not registered any case at Alvihag in 2023 even though they have visited them on several occasions including last week.
“It is true that we registered some cases there last year but it was about hygiene and sanitation. It has nothing to do with expired food but we encourage the public to always come forward with evidence to assist us in findings because if you just make mere allegations that they sell expired food and you don’t provide any proof it makes it difficult for us,” she said. Johnson said the supermarket authorities were advised to adhere to the safety standard and since then they have improved significantly.
She said inspectors don’t only stop at food stuff in the supermarket but they also inspect the warehouses to ensure that the commodities stored there are safe and properly kept.