Continuous market surveillance by the Consumer Council of Fiji in the last three months has revealed an appalling amount of non-compliant traders and service providers.
Out of the 648 traders/services providers inspected, 59 per cent were not in compliant to one or more of the consumer protection laws in place.
The survey was conducted in the Central, Western and Northern Division.
Council chief executive Seema Shandil said in a nutshell, almost 6 out of every 10 businesses inspected were non-compliant to consumer protection laws and this indicates a high level of ‘profit-first, consumers last’ attitude of businesses.
“One of the major concerns noted is the fact that the highest number of non-compliance is in the area of food and drinks.”
“Many traders continued to defy food safety regulations and were found retailing expired food items, tempering with expiry dates, selling prohibited food items, selling priced control items above regulated price and food establishments preparing food in unhygienic conditions.”
Shandil said addressing complaints relating to food and drinks is on the Council’s top priority given that these products end up on consumers’ dining table.
Meanwhile issues such as sale of expired and banned food products shows the acute need for dishing out penalties and other enforcement action; especially against repeat offenders.
“We have flagged these cases to the respective Municipal Council’s and Ministry of Health and Medical Services and expect stringent actions to ensure consumers right to safety and afair marketplace is held paramount. There is an urgent need to dish out appropriate penalties; especially to repeat offenders in order to serve as a deterrence and to send a strong message to would be offenders,” she added.
The Council is reassuring consumers that we will work closely with relevant enforcement agencies to iron out these issues and continuously push for stringent enforcement actions to ensure an increase in the level of compliance by traders and service providers.