ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Local Kurdish authorities in the autonomous Kurdistan Region confiscated 110 tons of expired food items during the first 15 days of the holy month of Ramadan.
In Erbil alone, the joint committee of police and medics confiscated over 70 tons of expired products, mostly perishables like dates and sweets, which are commonly eaten during Ramadan to break the fast or celebrate Iftar, the committee told Kurdistan 24 on Wednesday.
Mayor of Erbil, Nabaz Abdulwahid, stated that the confiscation of expired foodstuffs in the market “doubled compared to the weeks” prior to the holy Muslim month.
“Our committee, during the past 15 days, has visited and checked 60 different markets to ensure expired products were not being sold to the people,” Abdulwahid told Kurdistan 24
He noted that 10 shops, stores, and markets had been closed for violating the rules and “knowingly selling expired products.”
“The violators, in total, were fined IQD 56 million [around $47,000],” he added.
Some businessmen in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq illegally alter the packaging of products or change or cover the expiration date of food items which remain for sale.
Similarly, in other provinces, local authorities have seized over 30 tons of expired products in Sulaimani, nine tons in Duhok, and 200 kilograms in Halabja.
Although the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq often crack down on these harmful practices and on guilty parties, they have been unable to fully guarantee quality control over imported products or prevent the tampering of packages and food items in the country.
Editing by Nadia Riva