While citizens rush to markets to buy Ramadan supplies, Ministry of Commerce warns that markets are full of expired and rotten food [Archives:2008/1187/Local News]

September 4 2008

By: Saddam Al-Ashmori
For The Yemen Times

SANA'A, Aug. 31 ) The Office of Commerce and Industry (OCI) in Sana'a stated last Thursday that 10 tons of expired and rotten food items had been seized in four stores in the Shu'aub district, Sana'a.

The quantity is considered to be the biggest since the beginning of the campaign launched by the government ten days ago. It was confiscated in cooperation with security forces and representatives for the prosecution authority who attended the confiscation process.

Among the confiscated items were milk, soup, spaghetti and other food including dates which are in high demand during Ramadan. The OCI accused Yemeni traders of importing food items of poor quality from European and Arab countries in order to fill the market before Ramadan, and of taking advantage of people's poor financial circumstances by selling these products on streets for low prices.

In a press release, the OCI revealed that other stores in the Sanhan and Hiziaz districts were caught with numerous expired products including tea powder, yoghurt, spaghetti and other items. The quantity that was seized in these districts is estimated at around 2 tons. The OCI said that the confiscation process came after wide monitoring of these stores by the office.

Some of these food items were leaked out into the markets, according to Abdul Basit Al-Kumaim, head of the OCI. He warned citizens about the presence of rotten and expired items on the market and advised them to check food before buying it.

He pointed out that monitoring committees will accelerate their efforts to find the expired food that was bought from these stores and taken to the local markets.

The General Authority for Measurements, Specifications and Quality Standards (GAMSQS) has called on all citizens to check dates before they buy them, confirming that a big quantity of expired dates has entered local markets.

Ahmed Ahmed Al-Basha, head of the GAMSQS, said that during the first day of the campaign launched by the authority, 112 sorts of expired food were caught in Sana'a alone, pointing out that the campaign will continue until the 20th of September in the different governorates.

He said also that, within only a week, the authority caught 3.000 cartons of expired mango juice, 668 cartons of bottled water and 390 cartons of Turkish chocolate among other products. He maintained that these items were either expired or against the national standards of quality.

Al-Basha further disclosed that the campaign's primary findings confirmed that Yemeni traders do not observe health regulations when importing food items, notably during their storage.