Abi Jaoudi Supermarket has pleaded guilty to “willfully and deliberately selling and maintaining expired food commodities and other consumable goods on the Liberian market, Commerce and Industry Minister Wilson Tarpeh has told reporters in Monrovia.
The company made confession days after Commerce inspectors seized a truck containing expired meat, chicken, fish and other frozen food commodities belonging to Abi Jaoudi.
Some of the food commodities such as meat and chicken expiration dates far back as 2016, the Minister said.
The Weah administration will not accept attempt by any business to conduct itself in an evil, unlawful and inappropriate manner that will threaten the health of Liberians and undermine the sanity of the free market, Tarpah warned.
A fine of US$75,000 has been imposed on Abi Jaoudi, which also enjoys monopoly on the importation of Heineken beer.
“A routine inspection found that a business named Abi Jaoudi & Azar Trading Company, located on Randall street, Monrovia, had in its storage unwholesome and expired meat and associate products on their premises,” the Minister said.
“This practice is a violation Section 1.12 of the general Business law of the Republic of Liberia and section 26.2 of the Public health law of Liberia.”
Commerce inspectors took control of the Supermarket warehouses in a search operation targeting contaminated and expired goods.
The quarantined consignment of expired products have been confiscated by the ministry of commerce and industry to be disposed of by a team comprising representatives of the ministry of commerce and industry, ministry of justice and the ministry of health, Tarpeh told reporters.
On February 26, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor Frozen food and rice imported by Asian businessmen into the country are not fit for consumption because they contain chemicals that are dangerous to human health.
Addressing members of the Liberia Marketing Association she said Lebanese imported rice is the cause of diseases that are creating public health problems that are killing Liberians.