Local businessman threatens to sue Food and Drug Dept

first_img– says container detained for six monthsA local businessman is threatening legal action against the Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department, as he is yet to clear his container almost six months after it arrived in Guyana.Wholesale food and beverage distributor Rafik Ahmad, of Industrial Site, Ruimveldt, has retained Attorney Anil Nandlall to serve a writ in the High Court against the Department.The court document seen by Guyana Times is seeking to compel the Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department to quash its decision made on May 23, 2016,  to “refuse entry” to the applicant’s ‘1 x 20’ container PONU0397470, currently detained by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) at Muneshwers Limited, Water Street, on the grounds that the said decision is unreasonable, influenced by irrelevant considerations, in breach of the applicant’s legitimate expectation, capricious, arbitrary, ultra vires the Food and Drugs Act, Cap 34:03, and the regulations made there under, is unlawful, null, void and of no effect.According to Ahmad, over the past five years he has been importing from several countries, including Malaysia, Canada and Indonesia a wide variety of products, such as canned foodstuffs, soap powder, food boxes, and seasonings and selling them on the local market.He said he has been importing different types of milk over the past five years from Malaysia and Singapore without any problems at the point of entry into Guyana, that is, from the GRA or the Government Analyst- Food and Drug Department or any other agency. “One of the products which I import consistently over the years is milk in various forms, including powdered milk and sweetened condensed milk of various descriptions and types.”According to the businessman on October 26 last year, he ordered from one of his regular suppliers Mewah Dairies, a 20-foot container of sweetened condensed milk containing 1325 cartons.“The container arrived at Port Georgetown on the 30th day of December, 2015.As is the norm, the shipment was accompanied by a Certificate of Analysis, a Free-Sale Certificate from the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, a Certificate of Freedom of State from Disease and a Veterinary Health Certificate, Department of Veterinary Services, Malaysia.”He said normally, when the products arrive in Guyana and before they are cleared by Custom Officers of the GRA, these documents are produced and copies are retained by the Custom Officers and the goods are permitted entry into Guyana after the payment of the assessed Customs duties and taxes.He said, however, that on this occasion, the procedure was followed except that no duties and taxes were paid and a sample of the milk from the container was provided to the Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department upon arrival in the jurisdiction.“Upon its arrival, my servants and/or agents were informed by the acting Director of the Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department, that the labels on the milk appeared to her to be fake; she failed to specify the basis for this conclusion upon further queries. On another occasion, my servants and/or agents were further informed that the milk constituents fell short of that which is required by the Food and Drug Regulations for evaporated milk.”He said his agents attempted to explain the difference between sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk; however, the Director of the Government-Analyst Food and Drug Department appeared to be “incapable of understanding the difference”.According to the businessman, he took the Tax Assessment Notice to the office of the Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department, Institute of Applied Science and Technology (IAST) Building, University of Guyana, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, and was informed that the constituents of the milk are not in keeping with the Food and Drug Regulations for the fat content and milk content required of sweetened condensed milk.“This is the third occasion on which a different reason for the refusal has been supplied to me. As a result, the Director of Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department, Marlon Cole, stamped “Entry Refused” on my Customs Declaration Form and, to date, I am unable to clear or obtain delivery of the said container.”According to the businessman, he informed his Attorney and does not believe that Section 13 of the Regulations apply to the milk which he imported, that is, sweetened condensed milk.last_img read more