Ramadan shoppers cry foul at meat markets

Ramadan shoppers cry foul at meat markets

Residents of Sharjah and Ajman claim traders often mislead them about source origin of meat and cheat them on weight.



by

Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Mon 29 Jun 2015, 12:41 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:16 PM

Malpractices typically increase during the holy month of Ramadan, residents have claimed. — File photo used for graphic purpose

Sharjah/Ajman — In spite of vigorous inspections by the departments concerned, meat traders continue to cheat consumers in quality and quantity during the holy month of Ramadan, say residents of Sharjah and Ajman.

Ramadan shoppers complained that traders often mislead them about the origin source of meat products and urged the civic bodies to take strict action against unscrupulous traders. The consumers added that retail outlets which attract customers by offering competitive prices cheat on weight.

According to them, if an Indian expatriate goes to buy Indian meat, the trader gives Somali meat claiming it as Indian. When an Arab ask for Australian meat; they knowingly sell him Iranian meat as Australian meat. The consumers said this malpractice has been going since long time and it increases during Ramadan, as people buy meat in large quantity.

An official from Sharjah Municipality said that the inspections are conducted around the clock to control malpractice in the food markets across the emirate. “Cheating is a very serious violation and the inspectors would not tolerate it. The traders who practise it will be slapped with hefty fines and even closure,” he said.

He urged the consumers to contact the municipality to report any illegal practices in term of cheating, weight, origin source, and negligence of hygiene and validity of the meat. “Emergency number 993 is responding to consumers 24 hours day and seven days a week. The complaint will be immediately dealt with by a professional emergency inspection team.”

Yahya Al Reyaysa, director-general of Ajman Municipality, said that the inspections are on and sometimes inspectors act as consumers to bust illegal practices.

The violators are slapped with hefty fines and even shop closure. He urged the consumers to contact the municipality as soon as they face malpractices by traders.

Many meat shop owners at Sharjah vegetables and fruits markets admitted that such malpractices are common.They added that the civic body’s inspectors visit the meat shops only to check the quality of the meat being sold. They have not investigated malpractices such as cheating on meat origin or weight.

Ahmed Adam, a consumer, complained, “I bought 24kg of meat as we are a big family. When I lifted the bag I suspected it was not weighed accurately. I took the meat to another shop and found it weighed only 16kg. I went back to the meat shop and complained. Then he explained the weight difference was due to the removal of fat from the meat.

“I was shocked to hear his reply as I had never asked the shopkeeper to clean the meat. The municipality must look into such complaints also,” Adam added.

Suaad Al Mansouri, an Arab, said she can spot the difference between Australian and Somali meat. “The shop often sells Somali meat as Australian and when I argued with them about the origin of the meat, they shooed me off the shop.”

Joseph Tomas, who prefers only Indian meat and can recognise it easily, complained that while he was charged the market price for Indian meat, he was sold meat, which was either from Somalia or Iran.

Abu Faddy, owner of Al Aqsa meat shop, admitted such practices exist in some shops. Mohammed Fakeer, another shopkeeper, said shops indulging in such practices do not encourage customers looking to buy small quantities, for obvious reasons.

Al Khalil of Al Khalil Meat said he always puts small instruction signboard on the meat carrying the original source of the meat and price.

“Consumers do not have to ask about the origin and price. The municipality must compel the meat shops to do the same thing, it’s easy to cheat in the origin source of the meat because it’s very difficult for the consumers to recognise it,” he said. — afkarali@khaleejtimes.com


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