Bringing home the poison

Bringing home the poison

Food and deadly substances are often close together in your friendly supermarket - sometimes within reach of toddlers, writes Adam Welz.

Tuesday 13 January 2009, just after 10am, in the Pinelands, Cape Town, Pick n Pay. The store, in the uninspiring Howard Centre, isn’t very busy. Grannies prod tomatoes, shelf-packers twist tins so their labels face forward; checkout ladies banter in Flats-Afrikaans, enjoying a little downtime.

I’m heading towards the garden care section where my target, a white tubular plastic container with a blue top, is crammed on the shelf next to an upright freezer stacked with frozen seafood.

As I reach for the container I notice it carries an irregular dusting of white powder.

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Submitted by : Pippa Muter of Cape Town on 2009-03-10 13:33:40
I shop with my elderley mother every Saturday. Pick n Pay staff packed a bottle of weed killer with chocolate and biscuits. The weed killer leaked out and thank goodness I was there to see it when we got home. (She is sight impaired) I wrote to Pick n Pay and never heard another word - not even a free chocolate and biscuits for my pensioner mother !!
Submitted by : Don Pearce of Noordhoek on 2009-02-01 14:00:03
Well done you Nosy Guys, an article well worth reading. Start nosing around all the other big supermarket places too.
Submitted by : Anthony Krijger of Westville on 2009-01-30 12:57:21
Thanks Mr Nose for your diligent research and bringing all this to the attention of your ignorant readers like me. I will make myself a lot more informed from now on.

Editor's Note
You are not ignorant at all... all that seems lacking is an alternative choice for most of our readers... people have to shop you know...
Submitted by : Carte Blanche on 2009-01-30 11:46:25
Pick 'n Pay Head Office were told of a product (at low level in a Gauteng store) called SPLUNGE (caustic soda crystals), which I was told would be investigated and they would come back to me. Not so.

My concern is that there is no manufacturer's name on the product and no warning of obvious dangers.... in minute red print it tells you that this stuff can be used for water softening ... ???!!!
Submitted by : Gordon Bell of CLAREMONT on 2009-01-30 05:57:43
Thank you for this most enlightening article. Please take this expose further and cover in more detail the need for stricter control of safe packaging. Many extremely dangerous substances are sold in supermarkets and hardware stores in dangerous containers close to child level.

I have personal experience of a child opening the flip to open cap of an upturned bottle of turps using his teeth resulting in his body being covered in the substance. Fortunately the ingestion and inhalation was minimal and our baby is a healthy twenty something.

Every time I visit my local hardware store I see highly dangerous and corrosive liquids packed in these cheap plastic bottles with the easy flip off tops. Hydrochloric acid, Acetone, Ammonia, Lacquer Thinners and so on are but a few. The same applies to all sorts of cleaning materials in supermarkets and although perhaps less of a threat could end up causing severe pain. Try to picture a one year old tipping up a bottle of Spirits of Salt (HCL) which dissolves concrete and ripping off the top with its teeth.

Whilst we are becoming more vigilant with regard to the contents of dangerous products I would like to call for a war on dangerous packaging starting with the stupidly dangerous.


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