Consumers question decision to remove manufacturing date from dairy products

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Jeddah, October 17, 2018:  A number of consumer protection experts believe that some dairy companies have removed production dates off perishable dairy products, the Makkah newspaper said in a recent report.

Dairy companies have been trying for the last four years to convince the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) to permit them to remove the labels because such labels are not necessary. The companies have finally been given permission to go ahead. The experts said such permission does not work for the interest of consumers who have the right to know when the product was manufactured.

Abdulaziz Al-Khudairy, an economic expert, called upon the SFDA to reconsider the decision and require the companies again to put the production date on all dairy products.

“The dairy companies filed a complaint with the SFDA around four years ago that many of their products get returned because of the production dates and this causes them huge losses. The SFDA allowed them not to put production date on their products and never announced this to the public. The decision was leaked by one of the dairy companies,” Al-Khudairy said according to saudigazette.com.sa.

“Consumers should not be punished for products being returned from the market. It is the responsibility of the companies to study the market demand and manufacture products in required quantities. It is really regrettable that the SFDA did not conduct a questionnaire about its decision before enforcing it. Can the SFDA guarantee that all companies will abide by the requirements for transportation and storing of perishable products?” he said.

Talal Al-Rasheed, chairman of Environment and Food Committee in the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the committee was concerned because the SFDA issued the decision and gave the green light to dairy companies to remove the production dates off products.

“It should be stressed that some of dairy products perish quickly because of poor storing. For example, milk products require a specific temperature or else they perish. Some grocery stores turn off their fridges at night and turn them on again in the morning and this could cause dairy products to perish,” Al-Rasheed said.

Dr. Saad Al-Dahlawee, chairman of Environmental Health at Public Health College at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in Dammam, said consumers have the right to see and know when a product was made because dairy products like milk can perish within a few hours if they are not stored properly.

Abdullah Al-Ali, a consumer rights activist, called upon consumers to boycott companies that do not put expiration dates on their products.

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