Published On: Wed, May 24th, 2017

Wake up call

meatThe situation in Curaçao, where various wholesalers and supermarkets have been caught selling expired items, including meat, should not go unnoticed locally. There are indications of similar practices here that could present a major health hazard.

Some are now calling for more inspections in St. Maarten too, but it's also about the consumer. Too many automatically assume that what they buy from well-known businesses is always fresh and safe, so they tend not to pay much attention to the expiration date stamped on the products.

Recent experience in Curaçao indicates that shoppers must think twice and check, when making their purchases. It is important to understand that these limits are applied for food safety reasons and to monitor quality prior to consumption. Stores often have meat departments do their own labelling, which means that if an item is set to expire and still looks okay they could move the expiration date up one or two weeks.

When one, for example, opens up a package of raw meat and it smells funky or feels slimy, it’s advisable to take it back for a refund. The business is responsible for the food it transports, stores and sells.

Generally, if food changes colour or appearance, or develops a bad smell, it is no longer safe. People used to feel comfortable scraping mould off the top of food and continuing to eat it, but nowadays that's not considered safe, as mould is believed to contaminate food beyond what's visible to the human eye.

Consumer rights must be protected, so what happened in Curaçao should serve as both an eye-opener and wake-up call. People are entitled to fight back against abusive practices and hold providers of goods and services accountable to avoid being taken advantage of.

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