Editorial Comment: Govt must enforce product labelling

Editorial Comment

THE red flag raised by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe over retailers selling cloned and expired products to unsuspecting consumers needs to be taken seriously because it poses a real threat to the health of the citizens.

While the government had done fairly well by safeguarding citizens through ensuring that all products with genetically-modified organisms were properly labelled to allow consumers to make informed choices, some unscrupulous retailers are now selling products with no such labels.

We couldn’t agree more with residents throughout the country who are demanding that the Consumer Protection Bill 2018, which is currently before Parliament, should incorporate deterrent clauses for shop owners found guilty of selling cloned products as well as expired and poisonous foodstuffs.

Government, through Parliament, has a constitutional mandate to ensure that citizens are protected from such threats to their health as well as not duped through being sold cloned gadgets and their accessories.

These practices have become so rampant and gone out of control and we pray that the new law will clamp down on all such practices and ensure that consumers access the best services and products.

Citizens have a right to know the kind of food they are consuming by accessing such information on the product labels. So the Bill should ensure that manufacturers compulsorily label all their products to guide consumers.

Many such products have flooded the country due to the porous nature of our borders and there is need to find ways to ensure that all imported products come in through legal access points and are effectively labelled.

The increase in Zimbabweans afflicted with a raft of lifestyle diseases could be attributed to these developments and if there is no intervention, the trend is likely to continue unabated.

The need for a specific Consumer Court, similar to the environmental courts, cannot be over-emphasised. It is essential for consumers to be adequately protected through the requisite laws and structures of justice.

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