Consumers rely on those manufacturers to ensure that the highest levels of safety are met when they present their products for sale. They also depend on governmental agencies to provide added guarantees that the products that we consume are safe.
What happens though when we have to stop purchasing a particular product due to a consumer alert?
Consumer alerts are usually issued by the health authority whether on a parish or country basis. These alerts give specific details such as the name the product, the name of manufacturers and the nature of the recall.
The importance of these alerts are that they protect consumers who would not have otherwise known that there was an issue with the product.
Manufacturers who might have been otherwise tempted to cut corners in order to maintain the profit of their business are forced to comply with recalls of defective products. Consumer alerts therefore allow manufacturers to maintain their high standards and their profit margins as consumer confidence in the product will improve after adjustments are made to ensure the quality of the product.
In my humble opinion, these alerts make consumers feel that there is rigorous testing on the products before they get to the shelves.
Consumer alerts are not only spread using traditional media outlets such as newspaper and radio, they are also circulated on social media. This total coverage ensures that all consumers are given the opportunity to get the information about the product.
The most recent consumer alert was issued by The North-East Regional Health Authority and was published in The Gleaner on January 15, 2018. The alert advised the public to ‘avoid purchasing or consuming coconut water, sorrel juice and other juices labelled ‘Portland’s Best’ and bottled at ‘Long Bay, Portland’ as the Portland Health Department has found these products to be unsafe for consumption.’
According to the published article, a routine inspection of the processing establishment where those products are processed revealed violations of the health code and resulted in the recall.
Although no specific details were given as to what these breaches to the code were, I am certainly happy that steps were taken to stop production and close the facility until the violations were resolved.
In the meantime as consumers we must ensure we remain vigilant and keep on the lookout for any alerts in the media as we continue to keep safe.
Teri Ann Renee Paisley
Gleaner online writer