The San Juan Daily Star
DACO issues 37 fines during inspections at supermarkets
By The Star Staff
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO by its Spanish acronym) issued more than 37 fines during on-site inspections at 102 supermarkets in recent days, as part of a strategy adopted by the agency for the recently started hurricane season, DACO Secretary Edan Rivera Rodríguez said Monday.
“The tour of supermarkets throughout the island had the purpose of updating supply information on all the products that make up the basic emergency kit and, in addition, verifying the compliance of these businesses with the agency’s Quality and Safety Regulations, which prohibit the sale to the consumer of a product with an expired expiration date,” Rivera Rodríguez said.
Of the 37 fines issued, 34 were to supermarkets that had expired products for sale, two for not identifying products with their sale price and one for not having specially advertised prices available.
“We confirmed that, as we reported a couple of weeks ago, there is a sufficient inventory of all the basic necessities that make up the basic food basket to prepare for the hurricane season,” the DACO chief said. “The verification of supplies is something that DACO does routinely, because that is what allows us to identify situations that could require some type of intervention.”
Héctor Román, the director of DACO’s Economic Studies Division, noted meanwhile that although at the moment there is no problem with the inventory of hurricane season supply products, violations to quality and safety regulations were identified. He emphasized that “since these are products that one tends to buy as an emergency reserve, it is very important that consumers take the time to check the expiration date.”
Román said products such as cereals, cookies and canned goods, which are part of the hurricane preparedness kit, were among those that were being sold beyond their expiration date in some supermarkets. The same situation was identified with dairy products such as cheese, milk and yogurt, as well as meats including ham.
Of the total of 37 fines issued to supermarkets, the largest number (17) were issued in the San Juan metropolitan region. Of those, seven were in Toa Baja, three in Toa Alta, two in Naranjito, two in Bayamón, one in Carolina and one in Guaynabo.
In the Ponce regional zone, citations were issued in five supermarkets (two in Yauco, two in Ponce and one in Juana Díaz), while in the Mayagüez region six citations were issued (two in Cabo Rojo, two in Mayagüez and two in Hormigueros). In Caguas, five fines were issued (two in Humacao, one in Las Piedras, one in Ceiba and one in Fajardo), and in Arecibo four (two in Vega Baja and two in Morovis).
“We are going to continue to be active, ensuring that everything is in order with regard to everything related to preparation products for the hurricane season,” said Román, who urged consumers to report any irregularity they identify in stores.