The Public Relations Officer of the Serrekunda Market Committee, Sulayman Dampha, has accused the Food Safety And Quality Authority of The Gambia (FSQA) and related sectors of negligence regarding the protection of smuggling in and selling of expired food products in the market.
PRO Dampha, In an interview with The Voice on Sunday, opined that the most important area when it comes to food is the market but was quick to say Food Safety is negligence in their job and they are not seeing the efforts the market committee is doing to fight the smuggling in and selling them at the market, especially at the place name Expired Junction Market at the Serrekunda Market.
“Half of the diseases Gambians battle with are due to the foods they consume. Politics is good but the safety of the foods we eat should be a priority. This is a vital area and there are people responsible for this area which is the Food Safety and Quality Authority. They are being paid with the taxpayer’s money, let them do their work accordingly. There are expired food products smuggled into the market for sale every day,” he cried out.
According to him, the important food item that is called for concern is the packed foods in cans, Xilophin, box, nylon packs, and so on. He noted that most of these items are expired, also some of the sellers/vendors will scratch out the expiring date of visibility while some of the expiring dates might left with one or 2 months.
He emphasised that there is a special place in the market called ‘Expired Junction’ “This is where all these expired products are sold and most of the vendors at that place are non-Gambians but I assumed that the suppliers of the food items are not Gambian’s, and they are always falsified trade mark stamp. If the product expires this month, they will change it to the following year.”
However, on his claim, The Voice newspaper has discovered that it is not just the non-Gambians that are selling these expired food items even Gambians are involved in this popular Expired Junction market.
Meanwhile, he went on that even supermarkets still sell expired food products but the Food Safety and Quality Authority is not doing its job as expected since the only time they act is when big incidents happen like the Banjul Mayonnaise incident and the Abuko and the dumped chicken legs. “But they don’t conduct site visits in the markets to investigate some of these issues,” saying he has not seen them (Food Safety) since 2016.
Dampha also blamed the National Assembly Health Select Committee for not taking responsibility hence is their job to get into the market and monitor some of these issues and see if Food Safety is doing their work or not.
“This is collaborative work, they should not be sitting in the office. The only visit they did was in 2018. At least every six months or 3months they should conduct a site visit to monitor some of these issues and see where the foods are store.”
Meanwhile, Dampha also criticised the Ministry of Health for not doing its job as expected saying even during the Covid-19 they don’t see them in the market and it is one of the most important places to put into consideration.
“They should engage the market committee regarding these issues because we know the market issues more than them. All the above-mentioned sectors are not satisfying Gambians in their areas of work. We are urging Food Safety to take action or else by the end of next month, the market committee will take action regarding this issue with or without a permit,” he intensively argued.