Entry refusal of Containers with items of food shipped to Guyana from Canada

The Government Analyst Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD) wishes to advise the general public on the details of four (4) containers containing assorted items of foods imported by Mr. Faizal Asif Iqbal Alli of Lot 83 Mon Repos Housing Scheme, East Coast Demerara, which were refused entry by the Department.

After several consumers’ complaints and many attempts by the department’s Inspectors to conduct inspections and locate several bonds operated by Mr. Alli and against the backdrop of allegations of alleged malpractices perpetrated by the Importer in question, a decision was made recently to extract detail examination of items in four (4) containers of assorted items of foods imported by of Mr. Alli.

Detailed examinations and sampling of the container’s content were carried out on Friday 25th October and Wednesday 30th October 2019, Inspectors thereafter reported the following findings:

  1. Expiry dates were deliberately removed and extended with a date marking machine. The damaged area on boxes where the original date was removed in now concealed using a sticker bearing a Canadian flag. See the attached.
  2. Some products were deliberately removed from the original container or packages and placed into bulk container void of labelling details. All suspected to be expired or short-dated.
  3. Expiry dates were removed on other products and extended using a date marking machine.
  4. Most, if not all items of food were close dated with less than 75% of the shelf life remaining before importation.
  5. Some items were labelled with misleading information e.g. Acetic Acid was labelled as “White Vinegar”.

Based on the Inspectors’ report, according to Part II Section 6. (1) of the laws of Guyana Food and Drug Act Chapter 34:0, a decision was taken by the Department to refuse entry of the four (4) containers with substandard items of food and as required by regulation Part 1. 11. (3) of the Food and Drug Regulation. Communication and reason for our decision were shared officially with the Controller of Customs and the Importer Mr. Alli.

Inspections will now be urgently be carried out at retail premises across Guyana since two (2) of the containers bearing substandard items were electronically release from the port of entry without the Department’s consent or approval on ???. Inspectors subsequently visited Mr Alli premises on ??? and reported that none of the items could have been located.

The Department will now exchange communication and details of this practice with the Canadian Food Exporters Association, which attested to the wholesomeness of the products on a Health Certificate that was used to facilitate the trade of the items from Canada to Guyana.

Details of this practice and the affected products will be shared at our National Food Safety and Control Committee Meeting (NFSCCM) which will be hosted on 12th November, where members (Inspectors) will be asked to carry out detail inspections and sensitization in their respected regions across Guyana, since this practice is suspected to have been ongoing.

Legal proceeding will now be instituted by the Department’s prosecutor against Mr. Alli for knowingly or deliberately facilitating the importation and release of substandard articles of food to be used by the general populace of Guyana.

Consumers and retailers are therefore asked to be very vigilant and pay attention to the labels of products and to ensure dates are not tampered with. Also, consumers are being advised to ensure they purchase items of food that are properly labelled in English, have clearly written date marks, with a complete address of manufacture and with font sizes that are clearly legible to the naked eye.