You’re only weeks away from receiving a few of those plastic-wrapped and ribboned baskets of unwanted goodies for the silly season – but do you wonder what’s inside most of them?
Now officials are making a list and checking it twice… Officials in Bangkok are out and about checking those prized Christmas and New Year gift baskets to make sure nobody ends up feeling a bit cheated.
The Nation reports that officials from Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, accompanied by Deputy Bangkok Governor Sophon Pisuthiwong, visited a selection of shops around the capital this week to make sure their Christmas and New Year’s gift baskets are legally compliant.
Sophon says their intention in carrying out the checks is to ensure people don’t end up receiving inferior or even out-of-date products and that retailers are transparent about the cost of items in the baskets. The gist of the suspicions is that retailers put one or two items of value at the top of the basket, pack it full of surplus and out-of-date stock, and then scrunched up paper at the bottom to make it look full.
“The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is committed to protecting consumers against low quality or expired products that some retailers may try to bundle in the gift baskets. Retailers are also required to display the list of each item in the basket along with their prices to let customers know what they are buying and that each of them is priced correctly.”
Deputy Bangkok Governor Sophon also stresses the importance of supplying products with more longevity, saying they must display an expiration or best before date and that fruit and vegetable baskets should not be prepared more than 3 days in advance of sale.
“According to Food Act BE 2522, packages of all food products must display expiration or best before date, or manufacturers will be fined a maximum of 30,000 baht. To apply this law to gift baskets, we require the sellers to put only products that expire after January 31 in the baskets and must allow consumers to return the products until February 29 in case they are not satisfied with product’s quality.”
“As for fruit and vegetable baskets, we advise retailers to prepare the baskets not more than 3 days in advance of the selling date to ensure freshness of the produce.”
Finally, Sophon reminds retailers that gift baskets containing alcohol cannot be displayed in store or even in brochures. He says doing so would contravene Article 30 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act and could lead to an 11,000 baht fine and/or up to six years in prison.
The checking of New Year gift baskets is part of a wider campaign being run by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration in conjunction with 32 department stores and retailers, focusing on price and quality control of the baskets. The campaign also seeks to promote the use of more environmentally-friendly materials, such as leaves and paper instead of the usual foam and plastic.
SOURCE: The Nation
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