Muscat: Renewed calls to name and shame companies that threaten public health have been made following the latest violations recorded by the Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP).
The recent incident prompted members of the public to call for authorities to name the company responsible. According to the PACP, a company was found supplying expired food to shopping malls, hotels and shops.
According to the PACP statement, the company was supplying more than 4,000 expired commodities. Regular visits by PACP officials to the market led to the discovery of changes made to the expiry dates of some commodities. Based on these findings, the PACP team started monitoring the supplier of these products, located in Bausher. After a month of monitoring the company's activities, the PACP team raided its stores and arrested numerous workers caught on the site.
This is not the first incident of its kind, but the public reaction this time was more forceful. As the news went viral on social media, people expressed a loud and clear message, urging the authorities to name and shame such companies.
The outrage comes from the common assumption that such violators do not care about the public's health, and so, they deserve to be named and shamed for the serious nature of their crime.
Speaking to the Times of Oman, an official at PACP's media department said the consumer protection body has no legal authority to name such violators. "The PACP cannot name any violator even if a violating company gets caught," stated the official. He also clarified that violators can only be named after a court decision is issued.
"The PACP has to follow the law; it cannot name any violating company unless the judgment of the court has been handed down," noted the source.
When asked about the need for stricter punishments for such violators, the PACP official said they were awaiting regulations under the Consumer Protection Law to be approved by the Council of Ministers. "With the new regulations, the PACP will be stronger, as the penalties in the new law are heavier and stricter," remarked the official.
The new consumer law was approved through a Royal Decree in November 2014. Under the law, if the person or company is convicted, the court can order the publication of the summary of the verdict in two widely read daily newspapers at the expense of the convicted party.
Earlier, the Times of Oman had carried a story stating that companies caught putting the public's health at risk and violating consumer protection laws would be named and shamed, but only after the court decision is issued.