Cheating people

How healthy are the food we buy and are we being tricked into buying less food for more cash?

By Gary Hatigeva

Chicken products being repacked into smaller quantities in a Honiara shop. Photo supplied.

CONSUMERS are furious over shocking images which reveal that some shops in Honiara are practising what is believed to be trickery tactics to tamper with food quantity they sell to customers.

Early this week, a consumer posted on Facebook, revealing what many consumers have suspected foreign shops, particularly Chinese owned, are practising some cheeky tactics and are cheating consumers over the quantity of food products they sell.

According to the posted images, a local shop worker (pictured) was seen repacking chicken packages, where all the packed products are assembled in large trays and then repacked using scales, which many believed have also been tampered with.

Following the revelation, some other consumers also took to social media similar experiences they encountered with other shops on certain products, but shared that packets of chicken are the most commonly re-packed product.

Island Sun also took time to investigate the repacked food items and noticed that lesser products are in the packaging but more frozen water, which many believed is designed to make products seem bigger and heavier from the outside than they really are.

Also following the revealed images, many consumers feel deceived by such tricks, yet for many shop owners, such are their everyday method of choice to pretend they have more content inside than they actually do.

Consumers also shared and suggested that with an easy access to the global food market, which are seemingly having positive impacts on the local prices, this has taken consumers to a whole new level in terms of easy purchasing, but feared that the repackaging and unhygienic practices might be a step too far.

Authority officials were also shocked by the revelation, saying they do not understand why it is not possible for shops to maintain their packaging from the original supplies, because according to calculations based on the market prices, they will still make profits even if they have to sell cheaper.

The authority on the other hand, slammed the shop owner for what they described as “possible misleading” shoppers who buy everything from snacks to rice especially packages that are easy to open and resealed.

It is also found that while some packed food need air in the packaging to keep them from spoiling, there were a lot of other products where the shops “cheated” the customers by playing with the packaging, especially, with regards to quantity.

Unfortunately, there is no concrete specification, such as pre-packaging regulation to monitor or legal set out how much of quantity in packs is actually permissible because numerous exceptions leave plenty of room for tricks.

The Honiara City Council’s responsible body has been notified of the particular shop and there is hope they will follow up on the complaints and deal with the shop, but consumers are urging for a thorough investigation into all other shops whom they claimed, have done the same, but just never been caught.

“Unfortunately, some of us never had the guts to capture what we believed were wrong, but thanks to this brave consumer for setting the precedence, which we should all learn from and be vigilantes for our authorities and our people,” a concerned but relieved consumer expressed when interviewed on this.

Could these shocking images reveal how shops are ‘cheating’ shoppers by reducing food quantities? If not, could this then be, some of the contributing factors to the many unknown disease swamping the country’s urban population, and where are the healthy standards regulations?

In thanking the consumer for revealing the matter, which is now being investigated, authority officials are also asking members of the Honiara consumer public to help crackdown on such kinds of unwanted and illegal practices by being the ears and eyes for the authorities.

They also agreed that such are questionable practices being reported every now and then, but with the use of technology, shops found or caught will for sure be thoroughly dealt with according to our laws.

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