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Stores Punished for Illegal Price Increase of Local Sugar and Rice

Belize Bureau of Standards Monitors Current Market Price of White Sugar and Grade “C” rice – The Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS) in the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Trade, Investment and Commerce hereby informs the general public that with the recent price changes in both white sugar and Grade “C” rice effected on December 2015, it has beefed up its market surveillance activities for Controlled Price Goods throughout the entire country.

The BBS, responsible of enforcing the Supplies Control Regulations in Belize, is increasing surveillance to assure that products on the store shelves are available and priced properly to ensure that consumers are not unfairly treated by suppliers and distributers (especially during the transition period of price change for sugar and rice).

To date, a total of 150 establishments have been visited in all cities, towns and villages which include large supermarkets and medium to small grocery stores. Of the 150 stores inspected so far, 30 stores were non-compliant with price gouging being the most prevalent issue identified and violations being most predominant in the Southern Districts and rural areas countrywide (corner/small shops).

So far availability of project and price control in Belize City and urban areas within the supermarket sector has stabilized. To date, 2,770lbs of products, namely flour, rice (Grade C), white sugar and brown sugar have been confiscated from the 30 establishments mentioned. Confiscations within the Belize District added up to 30% of goods removed while both Punta Gorda and Dangriga followed with 28% and 24% respectfully. Cayo District garnered 10% of the removed items while Orange Walk and Corozal Districts were at 7% and 1% respectively.

The case files are presently under review by the Controller of Supplies and will thereafter be submitted to the office of the DPP for vetting and advice. The BBS assures the general public that it will continue to monitor the market in an effort to carry out its mandate and to protect the Belizean consumers.

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