The closure of five Shoprite stores in Mozambique stemmed from the dismissal of an employee weeks ago, the supermarket giant said on Tuesday.
“The [Shoprite] Group believes that recent inspections and the current closure of five stores stem from a personnel dismissal some weeks ago after a member of management was caught selling expired margarine through the back door,” the company said in a statement.
The Mozambican government’s National Inspectorate of Economic Activities closed down the stores in Maputo, Boane and Chimoio for selling old food.
Inspectors would on Tuesday and Wednesday go through the stock in the supermarkets and remove everything that was not in a good condition to be sold.
The company said it had a “very strict” policy not to sell any product past its expiry date.
“Shelves and refrigerated areas are inspected on a daily basis in order for products that have reached their sell-by date to be removed and destroyed, or held in storage until they are uplifted by the supplier or city health officials to destroy.”
The company had various internal procedures in place in Mozambique to support this policy, it said.
“However, with stores stocking in excess of 22,000 items on average, it was possible that staff may from time to time miss a few products that should have been removed from shelves.”
The INAE would be issuing a report on Wednesday, after which Shoprite would take appropriate action.
The supermarket chain was co-operating with the inspectorate on the matter, it said.