Product Packaging ‘Jabbing’ a Concern

April 7, 2022

The Consumer Council of Fiji (CCoF) is urging consumers to properly check product packaging for minute holes or ‘jabs’ when purchasing items such as rice and lentils/pulses.

This alert comes as a spontaneous survey by the Council (triggered by a consumer tip-off) in the Central, Western and Northern Divisions has revealed that many supermarkets are jabbing certain packaging for the ease of storage in their shops and bulks.

CCoF Chief Executive Officer Ms Seema Shandil says it is the responsibility of supermarkets to ensure that all items in their shops and bulks are stored properly. This should be as per the requirements outlined by the manufacturers or other prescribed guidelines and in a manner which does not compromise the quality of the product.

“Such products are packed in an air-tight manner for a particular reason. It prevents foreign matter from contaminating the contents of the products and a certain level of moisture is required within the package to prevent infestation and weevil formation. By jabbing the product packaging, these essential rationales are defeated,” said Ms Shandil.

During the investigations, supermarket workers informed the Council that the product packaging is being jabbed to maximize efficient displays which is a higher volume of the product can easily be stacked on each other; saving storage space in the process.

Consumer complaints and subsequent surveys by the Council has also revealed that pest infestation was quite a common occurrence in some supermarkets and retail outlets. This, coupled with jabbed product packaging could provide an ideal environment for product contamination.

“Whilst the Council is actively working on these issues and has a track record of highlighting issues in order to protect consumer interests, we are also calling on all consumers to be extremely vigilant when out and about shopping. Consumers wield a lot of power and by working in solidarity with each other and demanding for products which are not subject to any manipulation such as jabbing, we can effectively force retailers to halt such practices and provide products and services worth our every hard-earned dollar,” said Ms Shandil.

The Council has flagged the issue of jabbed product packaging to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and is requesting for prompt investigation into the matter; with actions being taken to address the issues.

To seek advice on any consumer issue, Fijians can call the toll-free number 155 or lodge a complaint using the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app.