By Berio Mbala
Kalinki Supermarket, a multi-purpose shop at Katima Mulilo, has come under intense public scrutiny after an investigation by health inspectors from the Town Council confirmed reports that the shop was selling expired tinned foods and mouldy cheese.
During an on-site inspection last Thursday, and following tips from a radio phone-in programme on Lozi Service, health inspectors confiscated 101 expired containers of orange drinks, 57 tins of jam, six boxes of sweets, 13 packets of brown sugar, 96 tins of mixed fruit jam, 106 containers of coffee creamers and a stack of various other expired foodstuffs.
Several efforts at asking management why they were selling foodstuffs way past expiry dates proved fruitless as management appeared dodgy.
But the public relations officer at the Katima Mulilo Town Council, Chrispin Muyoba, said Council had acted after complaints were made through the phone-in programme at the town.
During the inspection, it was obvious from the information on tins and packets on the shelves that the dates of several tinned and other foodstuffs had expired.
Muyoba said the manager of the shop was arrogant and would not allow health inspectors to enter the storerooms, raising suspicions that the dates of more of the shop’s stocks could have expired.
Council is expected to meet and make a ruling on what to do next and how the confiscated foods should be disposed of.
Asked how often they carried out inspections, Muyoba replied that they do not have specific dates and times for inspections.
He added that the reason for inspections being spontaneous is because shop-owners could easily hide expired foodstuffs when they have foreknowledge of visits by inspectors.
Meanwhile, a number of customers have complained to New Era that the particular shop has been selling expired foods since its grand opening in 2002.
Alex Mawaya, a resident of Katima Mulilo, alleges that all foods sold in the shop are rotten except for maize meal.
“I went to the shop yesterday after I heard that the Town Council had carried out an inspection, but I saw no difference as one could still find expired foods on their shelves,” he said.
People buy food from that shop because it is the cheapest in the whole region, said Mawaya.
He said that a lack of supermarkets is the main reason why people buy bad food from the same shop.
The only other supermarket with decent, fresh foods is the OK, although their prices are said to be beyond the means of the average residents, particularly those without jobs.
Meanwhile, Muyoba has appealed to residents of the town to always check the expiry dates on all tinned foods and other products, so as to avoid buying expired foods.
“Consumers who have inadvertently purchased expired food products must immediately return them or inform the health inspector of the Katima Mulilo Town Council so we can take further action, which will help us to prevent the sale of such products,” he said.