Everyone has a role to play in monitoring expired goods on supermarket shelves

Expired food (Photo from lyme-borreliose.eu)

The country’s Chief Health Inspector, Lionel Michael, says the responsibility of ensuring food items being sold in supermarkets are not expired lies with all groups.

He adds that supermarket owners have a major role to play in this.

He says the Central Board of Health has held workshops with supermarket operators advising them on how to deal with food items that are nearing expiration.

Some supermarkets in Antigua tend to keep goods on their shelves when they are very close to expiration, offering them for sale at reduced prices.

Others also sell them even after expiration at low prices, while they advise customers the goods can be used up to two months after the factory set expiration date.

His comments come a week after Ooops supermarket on Factory Road was busted with expired goods on its shelves. The Central Board of Health seized the items but it is unclear if any other action was taken against the supermarket.

Alvina Reynolds, the former Minister of Health in St Lucia agrees that consumers have a responsibility to protect themselves and each other.

But she says, the government must play a major role in ensuring the people, especially the vulnerable such as children and the elderly, are not affected by the sale of expired foods.

The World Health Organisation says there are 32 known diseases transmitted by contaminated food and beverages.

And recently, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) reported an increase in food borne illnesses in the region, linked to a number of issues to include the eating of expired food.