CAP: Beware food in dented cans

CAP: Beware food in dented cans

PENANG: The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) has found that food and drink in dented cans or tins contain micro-organisms such as bacteria that were a health risk to consumers.

CAP president S.M.Mohamed Idris told a press conference on Wednesday that a hypermarket here was offering such items at a discounted rate of 50% or more to its customers.

He said the hypermarket placed these items on a separate shelf.

"We found mostly food items such as infant milk, fruits and drinks in dented containers,’’ he said, adding that one damaged tin of infant milk originally priced at more than RM70 was being sold for RM32.

Mohamed Idris said that the shelf life of some of the items had also expired, while packets of assorted biscuits and flour were badly torn but resealed with cellophane tape.

He urged the Health Ministry to take immediate and firm action against retailers and traders who sold food in containers or packaging that had been damaged.

He said under Section 13A(3) of the Food Act 1983, any person who sold or prepared any food that is sold in a sealed package which is damaged shall be liable to a maximum fine of RM30,000 or to a five-year jail term.

Mohamed Idris said retailers and traders should also stop trying to clear goods whose shelf life was about to expire. "Consumers have to be informed that the shelf life of a product is near expiry so that they can be sure they would consume the food before the expiry date,’’ he added.

CAP officer Uma Ramaswamy said CAP had written to the Health Department here last year about food items in damaged packaging being sold at hypermarkets and supermarkets.

"However, the health officers told us that they could not find such items when they went to check. Six months later, we found such items back on shelves again,’’ Uma said.

When contacted, a duty manager of the hypermarket denied that they had a separate shelf to sell these items and refused to comment further.