Milk recall shows the need for good stringent recall policy

29/07/2010 15:59

The Consumer Council of Fiji would like to inform consumers that the Department of Weight and Measures has requested Rewa Dairy to recall a batch of 1 litre Rewa Life (blue packet) liquid milk because the milk content is below the stated volume of 1 litre . This is after the Council requested the Weight and Measures Department to verify the volume of this milk after receiving complaint from a concerned consumer. The blue packet Rewa Life is packaged in New Zealand by Fontera Limited. The milk packets concerned bear the batch/bar code number 9 416121 150974. Consumers should return the milk to the supermarket/shops where it was first purchased. The Council is also urging Rewa Dairy to refund money to its wholesalers and retailers where consumers will be returning the product. The Council would like to advice consumers needing detailed information on this particular recall to contact the Rewa Dairy.

Meanwhile, the Council is also calling for a re-call policy making it mandatory for manufacturers and distributors to put out paid notices in daily newspapers for recalled items to ensure consumers are aware of the product that has been recalled and how the consumers will be compensated. 

A number of products particularly those related to food and beverage have been recalled since last year as a result of Council’s intervention because it was unsafe for consumption, misrepresented or improper labelled. However, none of the manufacturers or distributors put out paid notices in newspapers to  inform the consumers that their products have been recalled. It was the Council that took initiative to inform the consumers. For the manufacturers and distributors the excuse has always been that most of the products have been sold and dissatisfied consumers can always come and see them directly. However, this is not fair on consumers because how would they know that a particular product had been recalled unless they are notified with public notices.

Product recalls are usually due to safety or mis-representation and most manufacturers and distributors are hesitant to publically notify consumers for the fear of damaging brand name or reduce trust in the manufacturers. This is unfair on consumers. Consumers need to be widely informed on such issues so that they can return the product and get the refund.

Some of the products re-called through Council intervention since July 2009:

  • Royal tea packets containing Lakma tea sachets. This was re-called for misrepresentation where consumers thought they were buying Royal tea but infact they were buying Lakma tea sachets in Royal Tea Packets.
  • Mr Crisp - as it was smelly due to the oil used.
  • Yumo’s- the big snack because it was underweight.
  • Brunswick Mackerel in Tomato Sauce for improper labelling.

The Council is stepping up its surveillance on product weights and measures in the coming weeks and is urging consumers to lodge their concerns or provide any information on any products that they suspect is underweight or if traders using uncertified or faulty scales.