DLCA Commissioner Carrington Wants V.I. Supermarkets To ‘Come Clean’ About ‘Deplorable Conditions’
CHRISTIANSTED — The Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs (DLCA) put supermarkets in the territory on notice that “deplorable” conditions will no longer be tolerated.
DLCA Commissioner Devin Carrington said that unclean floors, rotting food on the shelves and many other dangerous and unsanitary conditions visible in Virgin Islands supermarkets will not be condoned by his department.
“DLCA has received several reports from consumers concerning the deplorable conditions in supermarkets ranging from unclean floors, to shelves that are dirty and in disarray.” Carrington said., “of particular concern are reports concerning outdated food products on display for sale on supermarket shelves, rotten fruits and vegetables and improperly functioning freezers that result in consumers purchasing meat products that are spoiled. Consumers, unfortunately, only realize they have purchased unusable items after they arrive home to use the product.”
“I’ve repeatedly advised the proprietors of these establishments that consumers in the Virgin Islands, like consumers stateside, have the right to receive the highest quality of produce and food items for the hard earned dollars they spend. This is especially so, since the prices here are disproportionately higher than national rates. It is obvious that the days of inferior and outdated products rejected by stateside supermarkets being dumped in the Virgin Islands for sale are not behind us,” Carrington added. “I would hate to conclude that Virgin Islands consumers are somehow viewed by owners of these establishments as not worthy of the most exceptional treatment as consumers,” Carrington said.
Carrington said that “he owners of these establishments are reminded that the commissioner has the authority to revoke, suspend or refuse to renew the license of any licensee where that licensee allows or permits at the licensed place of business any improper or wrongful behavior of a substantial character and of public concern.”
“Certainly, a supermarket allowing the sale of inferior or spoiled items that may carry the risk of health concerns to consumers is wrongful and of serious public concern,” stated the Commissioner.
The Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs shall continue to conduct its regular monitoring and inspections of these establishments and issue citations where warranted. However, the public is asked to continue its vigilance. “It is with the help of consumers that the department is able to become more aware of the types of unacceptable conditions described here,” Carrington said. “I again stress that the consumer has much more power than most realize. Consumers should bring to the attention of store management that such inferior items being on the shelves is unacceptable. If concerns are not addressed, consumers should take any measure necessary to let other consumers know of the conditions. Negative publicity is never welcomed by businesses,” Commissioner Carrington said.
The Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs is currently forming a Consumer Advocacy Group to report and address what the issues are when the public obtains or consumes goods and commodities in the Virgin Islands. Individuals interested in serving as member of the Consumer Advocacy Group, or to report concerns regarding business misconduct are asked to contact the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs at (340) 714.3522 on St. Thomas, (340) 713-3522 on St. Croix and (340) 690-8036 on St. John.