The sale of expired goods is very common on the island, many times we have purchased items with no expiry date or items are placed on sale just days before the expiration date. This is very frequent and several reports are made by consumers to respective health officials of the Bureau of Standards.

It is no surprise to find quite a number of expired products on the shelves of some stores on the island, but the problem is that the situation is not being rectified which has allowed these shop owners to put the health of consumers at risk without any repercussions.

Many local businesses in the island have the tendency of selling expired products at half price or simply removing the expiration date and selling it for the regular price. Businesses should be aware that it is an offense to break the laws under Chapter 31 of the Public Laws of Belize, to have on sale unwholesome food for public consumption. Businesses are taken to court when problems of this nature persist or when the offense is repetitive.

So what does it take to have a business inspected for selling expired products? The answer is easy, simply call the public health inspector or leave a written complaint at her office. A complaint to the Town Council is also sufficient as they pass on the message to the Public health Inspector.

In speaking with Mrs. Lisa Tillett, Public Health Inspector of San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker Village, she explained that inspections of businesses are carried out once every six months but if other complaints are made to her she carries out inspections. One of the main reasons that inspections are carried out in such a manner is because there isnít enough man power to carry out more inspections throughout the year.

Mrs. Tillet also stated that once products are expired and caught on shelves in a store the products become the property of the Ministry of Health. Businesses are then charged for the proper disposal of these items which consist of transportation to the mainland and cost of destruction at the dumpsite.

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