60 stalls closed for selling expired food

A Commerce Ministry official seals contaminated food packets seized from a warehouse in Makkah.

A Commerce Ministry official seals contaminated food packets seized from a warehouse in Makkah.

Mohammed Al-Buqami, official spokesman of the Jeddah Municipality, has warned shoppers of popular markets in Jeddah against buying expired canned food and special food items for Ramadan, such as milk, potatoes, soup, samosas among other products.

He said that these products are often sold by unlicensed street vendors and workers who are in violation of the labor laws and regulations, adding the municipality has already confiscated large quantities of expired products from more than 60 stalls during recent inspection rounds.

In a related news, Ali Olayyani said: “Large quantities of goods and food products sold in Al-Balad markets were found to be expired and not fit for human consumption and are kept in the sun.”

“When you enter the market, you feel you are in an African market on Saudi soil noting that all of the workers are of African nationalities,” he added.

Kamal Al-Juhani, a regular customer, called on the municipality to intervene and to get rid of all expired goods and food products, which jeopardize the public’s health and endanger their well-being.

Ghulam Noureddine, a resident of Al-Balad area, said that these violators are taking advantage of the low income citizens and residents by enticing them with low prices.

“I usually shop at these stalls during Ramadan,” said Majdi Kamar, an Egyptian resident. “Some goods are offered at reasonable prices, but this does not mean that we should buy them at the expense of our health. We should always check the expiry date before buying to ensure it is still serviceable,” he said.

Badr Alddegi, a vendor, said: “We usually buy products from well-known warehouses at a very attractive price, often no more than a few riyals.” For example, Ramadan soup is sold in the malls and grocery stores for SR15 per kilo, while the same soup here is being sold for only SR5, he explained. With respect to expired goods, he said only a small quantity of goods may be expired, and there are some products which do not even have an expiration date.

Halima, another vendor, said she and other vendors buy these products in large quantities, and sell them at lower prices with narrower profit margins, asserting that they destroy any expired items.

“The month of Ramadan for us is the most important month of the year. It is is a big season for making good profit and earn a living,” said Mohammed Soof. He called on the municipality to provide them with licensed stalls so they can carry out their business legally.





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