National, News

Expired goods set ablaze

By Bida Elly David

South Sudan National Bureau of Standards on Thursday destroyed over 10,000 metric tons of expired food and non-food items impounded from traders across markets in Juba city.

The expired commodities consisting of maize flour, sugar, milk, oil, soap, biscuits, liquid soaps, paints, and drinks, were set ablaze, along Juba-Yei highway, west of Juba city.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Bureau of Standards, Mary Gordon said the goods were unsafe for human consumption.

She said South Sudan has greater imports where the majority of the goods are either substandard or counterfeit.

Mary noted that National Bureau of Standards has a role to ensure commodities imported into the country are of standard that befit the health of the final consumers.

“The reason why we do a lot of dumping of goods inside South Sudan is because a lot of shops and markets have been surrounded by substandard goods, and we have only ourselves to blame,” Mary obliged.

She stated that a lot of traders go out to buy goods that are close to expiring without conducting critical analysis before making their purchases.

“A lot of our traders actually go out to buy goods that are about to expire—6 months or 3 Months’ supply—which is totally not good enough,” she discouraged.

Mary further urged traders to cross-check the expiration dates of the commodities they purchase from other Countries to avoid endangering the lives of the consumers.

She echoed that six months should be the time when the products are already inside the country, not outside it, to avoid uncertainty.

“I want to encourage our traders that when they go and buy goods out of the Country, the supply or the time that these products are allowed to live should be at least more than a year,” she advised.

The Bureau of Standards boss also warned traders against importing goods from uncertified companies that operate outside the legal box of the government in the countries of origin.

“When you buy the products out of the Country, go to the shops or manufacturers that are certified, and the quality of their products has been assured through test and analysis,” Mary implored.

She underscored that SSNBS has been constituted by the government to safeguard the health of consumers and ensure that whatever comes into the Country is fit for human consumption.

“South Sudan is not a dumping site, and we must ensure that protectionism policies concerning the welfare of our Country and our people are in place,” Mary added.

Meanwhile, the Director for Quality Assurance at the SSNBS, Gloria Nyoka said dumping and destruction of the goods has been a regular exercise that they do after impounding outdated goods.

She said the goods are normally gathered through a market surveillance campaign programme that is regularly carried out to target shops and stores that pile goods for a long time.

“We always do this and bring the items for dumping. It is important to make sure that we dump and destroy so that some people (Consumers) shouldn’t come again and take those items,” Nyoka stressed.

She said some consumers do not have knowledge of whether the goods are expired or not, adding that they only focus on filling their stomachs due to starvation.

“It is our mandate to make sure that there is protection for our consumers, although we know that there are a lot of issues facing them,” she said.

Nyoka, however, mulled over the idea that identifying outdated commodities should be the collective responsibility of the entire population, including their government as well as the private sector.

“Consumers should be working together with us so that we know that whatever we consume is healthy for our health,” she added.

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