This week Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi castigated Soweto residents who went on the rampage, pillaging and looting spaza shops belonging to foreigners after accusing them of selling “fake” or expired foodstuffs.
Motsoaledi said food on the shelves after its best-before date was not expired food and could still be eaten.
However, the problem of selling expired food products seems to be widespread and not confined to spaza shops in the township, as Vusi Nxumalo - who bought sachets of nuts that had expired on June 25 from a Shell outlet in Witkoppen Road near Fourways - would attest.
Nxumalo, 37, took them back and demanded a refund.
“I went there last week to fill up petrol and decided to buy those nuts. I use them as refreshments for clients in the office. But along the way I decided to open one and it tasted nasty. So I checked the date and realised they had expired two months ago,” he said.
The Shell fuel station is a retail partner with the Spar Group, which buys goods from Tiger Brands.
The store manager France Sebuelo blamed his staff for being negligent.
“Maybe someone forgot to replace those nuts on that day, and the customer should have called the Spar Group instead of calling the media. But I would like to apologise to him,” he said.
Tiger Brand spokesperson Nevashnee Naicker said stores should not sell expired products, adding that the matter would be followed up.
Nxumalo, a businessman, echoed Naicker’s sentiments, adding that people could be infected by diseases as a result of expired goods.
“This is disrespectful to the people because some buy products without checking expiry dates. Imagine if someone from the townships buys these nuts, eats them and gets sick. And you can’t even trace how you got sick - who’s medical expense is that? I feel sorry for people because some are not reading, they just buy and eat.
“It is frustrating to see people being sick and we can’t find out how they got infected. It’s all because of the foods we are eating lately. It’s because of negligence. Remember listeriosis. Many people died because of that mistake,” said Nxumalo.
The Sunday Independent