Do you know?,90% of cosmetics goods and food items imported and distributed in Pakistan are out of date (expired). Importing companies purchases near to expiry stocks on least possible prices, ship it to Pakistan where date stamps are revised. The items with revised date (showing fresh manufactured) stamps are distributed through different channels to the end users resulting in maximization of profits. Evidence suggests that pharmacy companies are also accused of same mal practice and are thus playing with lives of people. Purchase of near to expiry on discounted rates is very popular in Europe .Quoting the practice one may claim that it brings no harm but they ignore the following facts.
- The purchases in discount stores are intentionally (for saving purpose) where consumer knows that even after three months of expiry; the goods will bring no harm to them.
- Here in Pakistan, end consumer is paying full price for expired products while facts are kept hidden from them.
- The expiry food may bring no harm till next three months but what if the act is kept on repeating multiple times for one single item?
The act of revising date is repeated multiple times till goods are consumed. The article will drive us through illegal activities like expired food items distribution, repacking of used goods, haram interments in consumer goods, illegal profits and compromised role of regulatory authorities.
Pakistan Consumer Market
Pakistan consumer market composed of 200 million plus individuals is highly fertile and is considered a hot cake for every company dealing in consumer goods. Although Inflation and high prices has squeezed customer purchasing power but still end user have to pay for their needs. The interesting fact is, end users don’t know they are paying their major portion of income for nothing or paying for something that will bring harm to them. The law enforcement agencies, drug and food inspectors after taking their share, are blind enough to ignore the crime. Utility stores of Pakistan are best known for providing substandard food goods.
Business organizations are always dedicated to maximize their profits and are least concerned about their social and moral responsibility. Their eager to earn more and absence of proper monitoring authority may drive them to be criminals of society. The only factor keeping them away from harming society is accountability and consequences (closure of business, prison, financial) by regulatory authorities. What happens in absence of such authority? What happens if both regulatory authorities and business organizations join their hands for their very own personal benefits?
On visit to any distribution agency one may find multiple expired items collected from market. The manufacturer / sole distributer collects these items from distributers and settle the claim but what they are doing in reality? The claimed goods are shuffled back in market with new packing and revised dates. The whole chain of distributers, whole sale and retailer to end users are fooled. The practice although is more popular in small companies but large organizations also play their part once or twice per annum. The used oil of different multinational junk food chains repacked with a new name in Pakistan is a popular example.
Halal and Haram
Halal and Haram (allowed & prohibited respectively) is the most important concept of Muslim community when it comes to consumption of goods while this is least observed by importers while placing order of import. Business ethics do not recommend the conflict of interests with local native’s norms and values. In Pakistan one can find hundreds of items that carry Haram ingredients in it.
Government should properly monitor the regulation of items and should ban the violators like all other countries where every item is inspected on arrival to the country. If shipment fails to prove documented quality, it is discarded and the manufacture / importer is banned to several years.