The Ministry of Trade and Commerce has been quick to address any issues which have arisen relating to the entry of illicit goods into the country or illegal practices by companies that place consumers at risk.
Deputy Director of Commerce in that ministry Margaret Campbell-Leslie gave that assurance today while speaking at a Crime Stoppers’ symposium entitled Measuring the Impact of Illicit Trade.
While Campbell-Leslie admitted that there had been instances where persons had tried to ‘smuggle’ illicit products into the country, they had been quickly identified and prevented from doing so.
She said this included one person who attempted to bring meat into the country that had been sprayed with embalming fluid to prevent it from rotting.
“There are persons who do not want to declare when their food or their goods come from a particular country and therefore they will state some other country and will not state the country of origin.
“That is important for us because as a consumer we want to be able to decide if we want to buy food coming from a particular country,” Campbell-Leslie said.
She recalled the 2017 incident where tins of corned beef were hastily pulled from the shelves when news broke that a batch had been tainted.
Campbell-Leslie also spoke of an incident in Barbados where workers at a local company were seen on video changing the expiration dates on a particular product.
She said once it was brought to the attention of the ministry they swiftly moved in and took action.
“There was a situation where workers were erasing the dates from the products and then putting on new dates. If it is an expired date where the manufacturer is saying that they are not going to guarantee that the product is going to be good if used after a particular date, then that person was putting consumer’s health at risk,” the senior official said.
“We went into that little company and we had them take everything to the dump under supervision. We didn’t find anything in the legislation at the time that we could have taken it any further, but at least we went in and we dealt with that.”
Campbell-Leslie said the ministry was keeping a keen eye on those organic foods being sold.
She said it was imperative that the relevant inspections were done to ensure that those locally made products were genuine.