Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 03, 2023 (SKNIS): On the November 01 edition of Infocus, Paul Queeley, Director of the Department of Consumer Affairs, outlined the new procedures for managing expired items on store shelves as mandated by the newly passed Consumer Protection Bill, 2023.
Director Queeley detailed that Consumer Protection Officers are now required to promptly remove expired items from store shelves. Under the new legislation, these items must be placed in a designated container, and sealed with a tape bearing an identifying logo. The sealed container is to be stored securely until health inspectors from the Health Department can confiscate and dispose of the contents at a landfill.
“The Consumer Affairs Department cannot condemn the items. The Health Department would have to come in, write up their necessary documentation, and issue them the certificate so that they can dispose of the items at the landfill,” Mr. Queeley explained.
Mr. Queeley emphasized the importance of maintaining the integrity of the sealed containers, stating that tampering with the seal is both a public health violation and an offense under the new Consumer Protection Bill, 2023. Businesses found in violation of this provision risk incurring fines.
Director Queeley also shed light on the procedural changes.
“When officers conduct their investigations or field visits, they write down the items they have confiscated, including the quantity and total value. Floor supervisors or managers then sign off on these confiscated items, and a copy of this report is sent to the health department, and also retained in our records,” said Mr. Queeley.
Tricia Rawlins, Communications Officer at the Department of Consumer Affairs, highlighted the significance of these reports in ensuring compliance and accountability.
“The reason for doing these reports is to create a trend... in the event that an officer goes and gives a supermarket owner a ticket and they want to question it, we can go back into our records and look at some supermarkets’ history of inspections and determine if that supermarket had been non-compliant for months,” Ms. Rawlins said.
Ms. Rawlins said that the Department of Consumer Affairs is committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of consumers and appreciates the cooperation of all retail establishments in adhering to the new procedures outlined in the Consumer Protection Bill, 2023.
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