A Mother’s Angst

I received this email (posted below unedited except for deleting the name and contact of the person that sent it out) in my Outlook Inbox few weeks ago while at work. It was forwarded by a colleague to everyone in my department as a lesson to be shared. When I read it I couldn’t help but imagine the frustration of this mother.

The brand name of the packet juice implicated in this incident is a well known household brand in Nigeria, the product was bought from an upscale outlet which ordinarily one would expect to have excellent QA/QC practices on the consumables they stock for sale, and much more exasperating was that the product was within best before/expiry dates when consumed. So inspite of the brand quality assurance of the juice and the expected confidence of shopping from an assured source, she found herself in a predicament with her dear daughter down with a bout of food-borne illness.
This incident is a classic example of the troubles that can occur when consuming packaged food or drink directly from the package without getting to visually observing the content of the package, whether it’s canned, bottled or tetra packed food or drink. Although it’s an established food safety norm that one cannot determine that a food item is safe to consume or not by visual inspection, but there are few times you can get telltale signs that something is not quite right with this stuff by looking at it…before it goes in your mouth!
It’s also important to note that this isn’t the first time that a well known food and drink brand has let its customers down in terms of food safety, it happens again and again even in the very developed countries. So the final consumer has an important due diligence role to play to keep safe from food-borne illness.
My advice to this loving mother, and to all my readers, is to set a rule of thumb for her kids to always decant the juice from the package into a glass before drinking it. In this way she secures a win-win situation. Her kids get to keep enjoying their favorite drink (which she admitted it was for her daughter) and while she (or the nanny) is able to maintain good due diligence in ensuring that any juice that is in doubt is thrown out!
Happy Reading.

“Two Sundays ago, my second child was ill and taken to the hospital for treatment, she stayed home during the week afterwards to properly recover. Last Friday, she asked for one of the packet juice Capri Sonne we had at home purchased from a Major supermarket (please note that this shop has huge customer base so no risk of stock having overstayed). On taking the juice, she started to complain of tummy ache and almost immediately started to vomit without finishing the drink. My nanny took the packet away from her and noticed some black stuff on the straw and proceeded to cut open the packet. Her observation was that the juice appeared whitish with an off look from what the juice should normally look like.


We immediately kept the remaining packets left in the carton away and as soon as I got home from work yesterday, proceeded to cut open all the rest left in the carton, the attached pictures tell the rest of the story. Bottom line for me is are the following:

Ø  with immediate effect no more packet juice for my kids, water and fruits to school is just fine along with their lunch.

Ø  Checking expiry date is no longer a guarantee of safe food any longer, the carton and each individual packs had June 2014 as the expiry date


Please let us pay more attention to what our kids eat and drink either imported or made in Nigeria, let us send messages to their school either via text message to their class teachers or via their home work diaries to instruct what and what not should be given to our kids in school because this particular drink became a favourite for my kids due to party pack from school etc, because if we don’t things that we don’t normally give to our kids may be shared at school for them to consume.


My daughter is fine now, the vomiting stopped Friday night and we all went back to the hospital for further review the following Saturday. It could have been worse but for timely intervention!!!




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