HEALTH & SAFETY RISK TO FRUIT AND VEG
In the last few months it has been noticed that many of the fruit and vegetable stall traders in the East End of London have started to pack fruit and vegetables into small clear plastic freezer-type bags, secured with a knot or a piece of tape.
This raises two main questions:
1. When exactly were the contents first bagged? These bags have no labelling at all to prove just when an item was originally bagged. Any item could have been bagged weeks or even months before, and kept being brought back out, or even rebagged a few times, until eventually sold to an unknowing public.
2. What is the condition of the bags’ contents? As we cannot handle the individual product, and there is no information as to the age or source of the food concerned, we can have no assurance that there is no infection out of sight within the bag or the produce. This could create a real risk of spreading disease and/or food poisoning.
This new packaging practice does not seem to be in use by those traders with longstanding experience of market trading, but mainly seems to be practiced by newer traders and those with temporary licenses, especially those amongst the immigrant communities.
We can understand the reason for traders to use this packaging method, as it lets people know just how much of any product they get for their pound, and it makes the actual purchase transaction quicker. This convenience, however, is of no use unless it is strictly controlled.
If this method of packaging is allowed to continue, then every single bag would need to be labelled with the date of bagging, date the trader purchased the product, country of origin, best before date, use by date, along with any other relevant information required for that particular product. The bags would also require a secure sealing system.
As this is impractical for the average street trader, the practice should be stopped immediately, for the safety of our own families, and the public in general.