Dubai residents find expiry dates tricky

Ankita Chaturvedi /Dubai
Filed on September 7, 2016
Picture used for illustrative purposes alone
Picture used for illustrative purposes alone

(Alamy Image)

How to 'date safely' with packaged food items, Khaleej Times has a few tips to share

Can we rely on the expiry dates anymore? Experience of a few residents in Dubai reveal that even top brands cheat consumers with dates.

Normally, when we buy packaged food, we look for the expiry date of the products. Sometimes, even after crosschecking the expiry date, we fail to make the right purchase.

How to 'date safely' with packaged food items

> Buy frozen or chilled food at the end of your shopping.

> Avoid buying if the packages are torn and check the safety seals.

> Always read the labels carefully.

> Keep the perishable food products in the cool box instead of warm places like inside the car or under the sun.

> Keep the ready to eat food and other food products in different bags.

> Do not buy hot food if they are sold less than 60 degree Celsius.

> Do not store food and chemicals (sanitisers, soaps, disinfectants) together.

> Slime formation, bad odour, colour change and sticky texture are indicators of quality deterioration.

> Do not buy meat or any other food product if you notice any of these indicators.

> When buying eggs make sure none of them are cracked.

The next step is to exchange the packet. But is that enough? A few residents say big NO to that.

Meanwhile, Sultan Ali Taher, Head of the Inspection Section at Dubai Municipality's Food Department, said that when inspections prove a product is expired, a fine is given immediately.

He didn't disclose the amount of fine and said it depends on the history of the company and the type of fraud that happened.

He said regarding the complaint, that it might have been a storage problem, but that will have to be proven by inspections.

Last week, a family in Bur-Dubai went through the pain of buying a wrong food product with the right expiry date.

On August 29, A.C. bought an American food product,which carried April 2016 as the manufacturing date and October 2017 as the expiry.

But after two days of his purchase - to his surprise - when he took out the frozen peas from his freezer he found it was not looking green and smelled foul.

He said: "While cooking I found there is something wrong. I tasted it immediately and found it was all rotten. I complained about it with the Dubai Municipality immediately."

He was told by the municipality's customer care on the same day (Sept.1) that a sample of the product will be collected soon from his place.

However, the sample was collected by a municipality official from his home in Bur Dubai, four days later, on Sept.5.

Next day, while inquiring about the complaint, he was told by the customer care that his complaint was not right. Unsatisfied with the response, he filed another complaint.

Another resident R.B. had faced similar problem a few months back.

She told Khaleej Times: "This problem is very common. A few months back, I bought long live milk, which has an expiry of almost a year. After a few days it started smelling foul. Also, after buying a top brand rice, I found big chunks of rotten rice in the packet. But, I don't have the bill with me to complain about it."

Both the cases clearly question the big brands, who are responsible for labelling and dispatching the stock in the market. 


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