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THE Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) last month fined more than 870 retailers for selling substandard and counterfeit products during a crackdown meant to protect Zimbabwean consumers from potentially harmful goods.
The counterfeit products recovered during the blitz include toothpaste, beverages and chemicals.
Counterfeit toothpaste — a product crucial for maintaining oral hygiene — poses a threat to consumer health as it may contain harmful chemicals or ineffective ingredients.
The presence of fake beverages in retail outlets raises concerns about contamination and adulteration, jeopardising food safety.
Some of the retailers were slapped with fines of up to US$5 000.
CPC research and public affairs manager Mr Kudakwashe Mudereri said: “The Consumer Protection Commission has noted with concern the proliferation of backyard production and sale of illicit and counterfeit products such as beverages, toothpaste and chemicals, among others, in clear violation of the law.
“This has resulted in increased exposure of our consumers to harmful, defective and substandard products, consequently prejudicing the unsuspecting buyers of goods and services and compromising the health of the country’s general citizenry.”
The Consumer Protection Act, Mr Mudereri said, prohibits suppliers from selling goods that do not conform to mandatory safety and quality standards and those that pose “any risk of an unusual nature”
“In this regard, the Consumer Protection Commission, working with other law-enforcement agents and other key stakeholders, is carrying out an enforcement blitz throughout the country to weed out any suppliers or distributors of counterfeit and illicit alcoholic beverages on the market,” he continued.
“A team of inspectors from the commission has so far netted over 876 unscrupulous businesses across the country found selling unsafe, substandard and counterfeit products.”
The operation, he added, was part of Government’s ongoing drive to contain drug and substance abuse.
“Those found to be non-compliant have been prosecuted, in line with provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, which requires perpetrators to pay for their misdemeanours through fines of up to Level 14 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.”