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How much people are attentive to expiry date on products?

How much people are attentive to expiry date on products?

May 24, 2017 - 17:38

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Afghanistaninfo-icon as a consumer country imports most of essential daily used items, but a significant amount of expired and poor quality products make their way to local markets as people pay little heed to expiry date.

The expiry or best before to use dates on goods are for customers to know a product they are buying is fresh or expired. Products after expiry dates are not necessarily spoiled or unhealthy, but should be consumed within the date given by the manufacturer.

Central Statistics Organisation in its report released on May 9 said the volume of Afghanistan imports stood at $6.5 billion in 1395 solar yearinfo-icon, with the bulk coming from neighboring Pakistaninfo-icon and Iran.

Imported goods include food items, medicine, cosmetics and detergents, on which mentioning expiry dates are deemed necessary.

Imports and poor quality/expired goods

The Ministry of Public Healthinfo-icon (MoPH) says it is seriously concern about the large scale delivery of poor quality and expired items to Afghanistan.

Dr. Kanishka Turkistani, environmental health department in-charge at MoPH, said hundreds of tonnes of expired and low quality goods were discovered and destroyed annually in Afghanistan.

However, he said expired goods continued to be imported despite MoPH efforts at finding and destroying them.  “Expired goods are not imported through customs, but they are smuggled into the country,” he said.

A MoPH spokesman didn’t provide information about how much of the consumption items – some produced locally--are up to the standard and are supplied after the real date is checked?

However, Siyamuddin Pasaralai, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI)’s spokesman, said corruption allowed products without their dates and quality checked at borders.

“Our borders aren’t safe and corruption and smuggling go together. The government has failed to identify those behind the business.”

But Pasaralai said prolonged storage of food and hygienic items inside the country and selling such items by local shopkeepers was part of the problem.

He said smuggling of imported goods without being checked was a blow to the country’s economy and people’s health and asked the responsible institutions, especially the ministries of finance, commerce and industry, and MoPH to seriously address the issue.

Despite attempts, Pajhwok wasn’t able to have comments from the Ministry of Finance, which is responsible to manage customs and the Ministry of Commerce and Industries in this regard.

Awareness level among people

No specific figures are available with relevant organizations to show the level of awareness among people about the issue. However interviewsinfo-icon with a number of individuals in Kabul city show the awareness level is extremely low.

Nargis Mirzayi, an Afghan refugee in Iran who had spent most of her life there, is currently living in Dar-ul-Aman area of Kabul. She said the sale of expired items in Afghanistan was a serious problem and should be seriously paid attention.

She recalled: “In Iran, they were very sensitive about expiry dates. In case expired items were found, they were immediately destroyed. We returned to Afghanistan about three years back and we weren’t aware about this issue until I bought a face cream.”  She said most people in Afghanistan didn’t pay attention to expiry dates.

Sohaila, 34, a resident of third municipal district of Kabul, said she always bought needed items for home but never read or paid attention to dates on products.

The housewife said she was illiterate and she couldn’t read dates and blindly trusted shopkeepers in buying needed stuff from them. However, she said relying on shopkeepers was not a good experience because they sold expired products to people.

However, Pardis Nasiri, a resident of Khushal Khan Mena, told Pajhwok Afghan News he always checked expiry dates on food items.

“There is nothing valuable than a man’s health and I always advise shopkeepers to check their items’ dates because when they sell them, they could cause many health problems.”


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