Quality of Lamb Products – A Concern
April 7, 2022
An influx in complaints on lamb products prompted the Consumer Council of Fiji (CCoF) to conduct a survey between November 2021 to March 2022. The objective of this survey was to determine if consumers are getting value for their money when purchasing lamb products such as lamb chops, lamb shank, lamb neck and curry pieces.
CCoF Chief Executive Officer Ms Seema Shandil says that the demand for lamb products is quite high in Fiji as it is widely consumed, however, concerns raised by consumers and issues discovered by the Council during market surveillance painted a very worrisome picture about the lamb products being retailed to consumers.
“The major issue which is currently plaguing supermarket freezers is the excessive fat in lamb products. Looking at these products, it seems like certain supermarkets are not retailing meat but fat to consumers. The current prices of lamb chops range from $22 to $27 per Kg. This is an outrageous amount of money being forked out of consumers’ pockets for a product which is mostly fat.,” said Ms Shandil.
The type of fat riddled lamb products being retailed by certain supermarkets does not belong in display freezers and must not be up for sale. As a result of continuous market surveillance and spot checks by the Council, a few supermarkets have taken heed of the Council’s warnings and have improved the quality of lamb products. However, others have not shown any signs of improvement.
Not being assertive enough to demand for quality meat, some consumers have no choice but to purchase whatever is available. Another area of concern is the sale of lamb curry pieces in many supermarkets which are not only full of fat but is also discolored, however due to cheaper options consumers still purchase it.
The Council has also been continuously flagging all cases related to meat and other food products to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services’ Food Unit as well as the Municipal Council. “The Food Unit and Municipal Councils need to beef up on their surveillance and take strict actions against supermarkets engaging in such practices. Warnings are no longer effective to change the behavior of some supermarkets hence, products need to be condemned and violators should be imposed with hefty fines to force them to change their behavior,” said Ms Shandil.
Supermarkets are urged to take heed of the concerns being raised by the Council and take immediate corrective actions.
Consumers coming across any consumer issues are encouraged to contact the Council on toll- free number 155 or lodge a complaint using the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app.