By Gary Hatigeva
THE Honiara City Council (HCC) is set to conduct inspections of shops for continued selling of expired products in the capital city as of next week.
Honiara City Mayor Andrew Mua in an interview yesterday confirmed that there will be checks for expired goods, shop conditions and compliance with city council health regulations.
Mr Mua said the council, following a good number of complaints from consumers, decided to fast track the planned exercise to next week and go hard on bussinesses, ensuring worthiness of products on shelves while at the same time thoroughly inspect product labels.
“If we find any goods with labels that aren’t written in English or Pijin but are in a foreign language that we can’t read, we will remove them from the shelves,” Mua stressed.
The last time HCC carried out similar exercises, inspections were extended to restaurants and roadside food stalls, but the Mayor has not touched on that.
Mua said the city council plans to ensure that all shops especially those selling consumable goods in Honiara, meet all HCC health regulations.
“If shops are caught with expired goods, then we will close it down and officers from the city council’s environment department as of next week and on, will begin the inspection exercise.”
The Mayor however added that even goods with three months left before they expire will also be ordered out of the shelves.
In the recent weeks, Island Sun also received a good number of complaints from consumers regarding expired goods being bought where in most cases are nonrefundable, but the Mayor pointed out that this time round, the Council will ensure that customers are given the right services and served with goods of quality standards as far as HCC laws are concerned.
He furthers that also this time round, they (HCC) will go hard on offenders and revealed that if found guilty, people caught will be liable to pay fines of up to $10,000.
Meanwhile, the City Mayor called on the consuming members of the public to help the authority track down what he described as illegal practices that continue to wear in on the health status of Honiara City residents who continue to suffer the consequences.
He said the success of this crackdown and inspection exercise will also need the assistance of the general public as a lot of the shop operators will do all they can to avoid being caught.
He said it has now come to the council’s attention that in the past, when inspected, shops will hide away the expired stuff from their shelves and put them back up after.
“This would definitely be out of our control, but that is why I stressed the need for public cooperation because you will then be our eyes if shops do get away with their unworthy of sell goods, and please, don’t hesitate to report anything you find odd and may be seen in breach of the mentioned ordinances.”