By Shikema Dey
The Mon Repos retailer whose recent food imports came under scrutiny by the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) is now in the hot seat again, this time, for allegedly falsifying the Canadian authorisation for his imports.
On November 6, last, the FDD reported that it had seized four containers from the said businessman filled with expired goods and items with the expiry dates deliberately removed and extended.
Damaged boxes of food items were found where the original dates were hidden with the Canadian flag sticker among other infractions.
The businessman, Faizal Ally, was quick to address the claims through his lawyer, Anil Nandlall, denying the allegations leveled against him.
Ally pointed out that the allegations questioned the integrity of his distributors in Canada along with the Canada Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada.
But according to the FDD, the regulatory authority in Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) informed them that they issued no certification to the businessman.
“The certificates used to facilitate the current exports were discontinued since 15th January, 2019 and the signatory used for the export used is an unauthorised one,” the statement said.
The Food and Drug Department further called on the CFIA to exercise greater scrutiny when food is being exported from Canada to Guyana.
Meanwhile, the businessman has reportedly withdrawn his initial intent to file legal proceedings against the FDD for exposing his alleged malpractice.
According to the Director of the FDD, Marlan Cole, this move was taken because the businessman still had several other containers en route to Guyana.
“Ten of the containers are already here and eight more are on the way to Guyana while three more are still to come”, Cole relayed.
According to him, all containers will be carefully examined to ensure that substandard food items are not released into the local market for human consumption.
The Director once again reiterated his call on local distributors to possess the compulsory documentations required when importing items into Guyana.
According to him, these documents are “necessary” as they aid the department to trace goods of substandard value that have been circulated on the local market.
Cole disclosed to Kaieteur News that the Food and Drug Department have been playing its part but they rely heavily on the documentations.
“We depend on paperwork that the exporting authorities to attest to the wholesomeness of some foods, commodities or shipments however it’s not in all cases where such documentation is retrieved by the importer,” Cole said.
The Department Head mentioned that consumer complaints help to weed out substandard imports. But even this, he stressed, is a difficult task as they are unable to trace the food items when they hit the stores.
Further, as the Christmas season approaches, many business would be stocking goods to cater for the various needs of consumers.
To this, Cole stressed that shoppers must be on the alert and ensure that whatever items they purchase are properly packaged, sealed and labeled.
“Consumers out there are the ears and eyes of the Food and Drug Department. We can sensitise the public to the culpability of the importers taking deals from North America and other places.”
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