…Million dollar expired food products sold to unsuspecting Namibians
EXPIRED food stuffs amounting to millions have been unearthed at a retail outlet in Windhoek’s Chinatown with revelations that the illegally imported food has been getting shelf life at the expense of consumers’ health.
Confidente can also reveal that the products, particularly the agricultural products such as baking flour and maize meal, were brought in the country illegally from Asia via South Africa under the guise of grain. In a raid that happened this week in the presence of this publication, health inspection officials from AMTA representing the Government and acting in accordance with the law which prohibits the importation of maize meal, confiscated three truck loads amounting to at least 50 000 kg of expired agri-goods. The good carrying an approximate value of N$1 million were dumped and destroyed at Kup- ferberg general and hazardous waste disposal site near UNAM. ferberg general and hazardous waste
“What you see here are food stuffs that have been imported illegally and most of them are expired. We are going to issue them a fine amounting to at least 40 percent of all the illegal goods that we have confiscated. If they were in possession of an import license we could have cancelled it for half a year,” explained one inspector from AMTA who refused to be named.
The destroyed maize meal and flour was well packaged into 50kg, 25kg, 10 kg and 2,5kg packs.
In further investigations, Confidente visited the retail outlet in question- Chen Zi import and export which is shop 3 in Chinatown-and discovered that other products sold had also long expired with new sticker with new expiry dates attached to the products. One of the employees who also pled anonymity said that sometimes the shop owners repackage the goods in new packs and change expiry dates or scrub off the dates to stamp new ones. He further outlined that some customers have returned to complain after enduring running tummies upon consuming the goods such as biscuits and chips apart from the maize meal.
Asked about the expired goods, the shop owner who identified herself as Fiona Chen bizarrely said: “The package has expired by the goods inside has not expired (sic).”
Continuing to profess innocence to the matter, she then changed her story saying she had no intention to sell the products to humans but wanted to develop the products into animal food.
“We did not have any intention of selling this food but we wanted to develop food for animals,” she said.
The City of Windhoek health inspector responsible for Chinatown, Ester Ndjalo was also not aware that the Chinese had been selling expired food as she had assumed office on two months prior to this incident.
“I am still trying to figure this out but this is clear food poisoning because these products are expired,” she told Confidente.
Earlier in the week, it was reported that Chinese businesses operating in Namibia have sent foreign currency amounting to about N$3,5 billion out of the country through the use of suspicious invoices for purported imports from China.
This was one of the findings of an investigation into bank transactions through which foreign currency has flowed out of Namibia over the past three years, a chartered accountant and forensic investigator involved in the probe testified in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court last Friday.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015