By Namutebi Victoria Wamala
The festive season is here…
It's a time to GIVE, a time to SHARE!
Often, we give to friends and family, and the trend today is that organizations too, give back to their loyal clients.
In other words, it's time to win hampers… but have you paid keen attention to the goodies in those hampers?
What is their expiry/best before date? What are the ingredients? Are they intact and well-sealed?
Below are some of the CONSUMER TIPS that can be followed when checking out goodies in your gift hampers or when shopping goodies this festive season;
- Check out for the product packaging; Packaging of all products should be intact and well-sealed.
- Check out for the Expiry date; Always look out for the expiry or best before date. Avoid buying or consuming a product whose expiry date has passed because you can't guarantee the safety of such a product. Also avoid consuming products whose expiry date is as soon as a day or five days. Both the manufacturing date and best-before date should be visibly displayed on the packaging.
- The Physical address and contacts of the manufacturer too, should be displayed on the packaging of the product. Avoid buying any product whose manufacturer is not mentioned on the product packaging.
- Check for ingredients to avoid buying products that may contain ingredients you are allergic to. The ingredients should be visibly displayed on the product packaging.
- Avoid buying goods from ungazzetted areas. This is because it is hard to trace the seller in case of a complaint. Buy from established outlets and always demand for a receipt.
- Avoid shopping in the dark or night hours from hawkers. It's in the night that substandard goods hit the market because it's dark and everybody wants to get back home fast.
- In case of cosmetics, avoid using creams and lotions that contain Hydroquinone and Mercury. These ingredients are banned in Uganda because they could cause cancer in the long run.
- When shopping for meat, look out for the certified label "PASSED" which is denoted on the carcass using a marking fluid of food-grade ink. The meat should be free from;
- visible blood clots, or bone dust and bone splinters
- any visible foreign matter (for example, dirt, wood, metal particles and ingesta contamination from the viscera
- offensive odours
- prominent bloodstains
- unspecified protruding or broken bones
- contusions having a material impact on the product;
- spinal cord (except for whole unsplit carcases), as stated in FDUS 932; Bovine (beef) carcasses and cuts — Specification.
- When shopping for chicken, look out for these specifications stated in US 917: 2012; Dressed poultry — Specification. The dressed poultry shall be;
- suitably scalded and all pin-feathers and body hairs removed
- head, feet and oil glands remove
- Discolouration due to bruising shall be free of clots. Flesh bruises and discolourations of the skin, such as, "blue back‟ are not permitted
- Free of cuts and tears on the breast and legs.
Always report any distributor or dealer of expired or sub-standard products to the nearest police station and contact UNBS for redress on toll-free number 0800133133.
The writer is a Public Relations Officer at Uganda National Bureau of Standards.