Cape Town - Food items that expired as far back as August last year were given by the City of Cape Town to victims of a shack fire in the Agste Laan informal settlement in Valhalla Park at the weekend.
The city has confirmed the items had expired.
“We intend to lay charges with the police because we feel that it is negligent for a government to give people expired food,” said Rammi Sampson, a member of a community committee representing residents of the settlement.
“We fear that they are putting people’s lives at risk of food poising,” he said on Sunday.
“It is not right.
“Because of their desperation some people are continuing to eat the stuff even though it’s expired,” he added.
Some residents of Agste Laan in Valhalla Park were outraged after discovering that some of the items in food parcels provided by the City of Cape Town expired months ago.
The city has been providing food parcels to Agste Laan residents after 1 400 people were left homeless by a shack fire on December 23.
Sampson said that on Saturday some residents noticed food items had expired in October, September and in November.
A city disaster management official was notified of this, but to demonstrate that “the food was fine”, the official opened a tin of baked beans in front of residents and ate it, he said.
Sampson said the food parcels were distributed to about 100 people.
He said some of the expired products included jars of peanut butter, packets of uncooked soup, baked beans, pasta and tea that expired in August.
Not all products distributed by the officials were expired, he said.
City of Cape Town disaster management spokesman Wilfred Solomons-Johannes confirmed this and said the items had already been recovered by the city.
Solomons-Johannes said there were no reports of residents falling ill as a result of eating the expired food.
He said not all food items had expired.
He said there were about four items found to have expired and were “in between batches of consignments”.
They included a tin of baked beans, dried tomatoes and two tins of peas, Solomons-Johannes.
“It was not on a major scale or large quantities,” Solomons-Johannes said.
“I have immediately ordered that all consignments that are packaged be cross-checked irrespective of the expiry dates on the outside of the boxes to ensure that the city does not issue any perished foodstuff to the community.
“At times it happens that when dealing with large consignments that some items that are expired may be between those items that are within the ‘best before date’ for consumption,” he said.
He said the city had also told residents to return any expired food they might have received.
The expired food items will be disposed at one of the city’s landfill sites, Solomons-Johannes said.
ANC Youth League task team provincial convener Muhammad Khalid Sayed said he visited Agste Laan on Saturday after being called by residents.
“The ANC Youth League is disgusted that the city has stooped so low to insult our people, play on their poverty and put their health at risk,” Sayed said.