CUSTOMERS OF one of Ghana’s main shopping marts, Marina Shopping Mall, were yesterday disappointed as it closed its doors to the general public.
Management of the mall had pasted a notice, saying, “Dear valued customers, we are closed for today due to system error which we are working on. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.”
But DAILY GUIDE’s sources indicated that the closure followed a raid on the mall by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) allegedly for trading in food and beverages which come with misleading labels.
According to FDA sources, officials visited the mall and collected all the aforementioned items which were said to be having labels with Arabic and French writings and other foreign languages. The FDA exercise started from last Saturday.
Besides, the issue of mislabeling of products which professionally is deemed unethical and legally wrong – the items seized were said not to have been registered with the FDA.
Labeling is a consumer right issue as consumers are to be given the necessary information that can help them purchase the right or wholesome item of their choice and as such labeling in a foreign language which a consumer cannot understand is deemed a violation of human rights in business.
There are health considerations that have to be made when a consumer is purchasing and it is only through the label that that can be done. Hence selling a product with a label in Chinese, Spanish or other writings in an English-speaking country is unethical and legally flawed. Therefore, the FDA moved to raid the Marina Mall which was officially launched in November 2013.
DAILY GUIDE’s sources reported that the FDA became concerned about the possibility of Marina Mall trading in either fake or expired products as a result of the misleading labels which may misinform consumers.
Security men manning the place would not allow access to officials for an interview when DAILY GUIDE visited the mall yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Authority has warned all importers, manufacturers, supermarkets and retail shop proprietors to observe the strictest compliance measures with respect to all FDA’s regulated products as the festive season approaches.
“The food industry in particular is cautioned to desist from offering for sale” unregistered products, products not labeled in English, expired products or products with elapsed Best Before Dates, products with no date markings (best before or expiry), products with tampered labels, dented canned products, bloated canned products, rusted canned products, products that are not kept under good storage conditions,” according to FDA, in a news release it issued to all media houses.
According to the release, “businesses whose activities expose the public to risk will be subjected to strict regulatory sanctions, including closure of premises and prosecution.”
Earlier in the year, the FDA had ordered the closure of all Citydia supermarkets in the country for selling items labeled in Spanish and French.