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‘Woermann does not sell expired goods’

Products of Woermann Hyper: Shrinked polony at the Katutura Woermann Brock store. (Photograph by Johanna Ileka)Retail and Wholesale group, Woermann Brock, has been accused of selling expired goods, especially cold meat products. The public has also repeatedly complained about the hygiene at some Woermann outlets.
This week, the Economist was approached by some customers who frequently buy goods from the retailer’s branch in Wanaheda, Katutura. They complained especially about what seems to be expired polony. This cold meat is produced at the Woermann Hyper premises in Khomasdal and their lack of expiry dates has raised suspicion in some customers.
According to the general manager of Woermann stores, Rudolph Fourie, the cold meat appear to be shrinked as they are cooled quicker after packaging which results in the shrinking of packages. He said that his store does not sell expired products because, for the products that are not produced by Woermann, there are merchandisers that inspect the shelves everyday and are responsible for the removal of old products from the shelves.
“I have no reason to sell everything because I receive full credit on everything I send back to suppliers,” said Fourie.
Commenting on the cold meat produced by his stores, Fourie claimed not to know why they do not carry expiry dates.
“I don’t know about the dates because they are supposed to have expiry dates when they go out of here, but I’ll follow up on that,” he said.
Fourie also added that cold meat normally have a shelf life of 21 days before expiring. But according to an employee at one of the Katutura branches, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the cold meat produced at Woermann is only kept on the shelves for five days after produce.
Fourie affirmed that they have health inspectors from the City of Windhoek who check everything on a monthly basis for the big stores and about four times a year for the smaller shops. “They take samples of dairy and cooked products, analyse them to check the bacteria content and send us a report if there’s something wrong,” he said.
The employee who spoke on condition of anonymity also added that when they order equipment, like computers and freezers, they always receive older ones from the bigger branches. But the general manager turned this down saying that all equipment in the stores at the Katutura branches came with the premises when the Woermann family bought them from Elago stores about two years ago.
Fourie also added that they are busy renovating the branches in Katutura, with the Mashego branch already completed. “When we are done, all the shops will be of the same standard and quality as the other stores,” he remarked.

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