MORE than 400 tonnes of food items damaged by the recent floods and estimated to cost more than $30million were removed by health officers in the Western Division.
This was heard during the government's heads of departments briefing at the Commissioner Western's office in Lautoka yesterday.
More than 50 health officers were deployed to various urban centres in the Western Division for this exercise.
Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki said damaged food items were disposed off at various rubbish dumps in the division.
He said the government integrated team was working closely with the Health Ministry in clearing the damaged goods.
"Food items damaged during the flood are not supposed to be sold and this is the reason we are surveying all food outlets and supermarkets affected by the flood so they do not to sell these items," Cdr Cawaki said.
"Selling of damaged food items is illegal and we will make sure that all damaged goods are destroyed," he said.
Cdr Cawaki said the government would continue to monitor all shops and supermarkets to make sure none sold damaged goods.
"We understand that most business people have been hit hard by the impact of the flood and we are requesting them not to sell damaged food items as it is against the law," he said.
"This is a huge loss to business people in the west and incidents such as floods are beyond our control.
"I think we need to accept the fact that disasters do happen and we need to look at ways to reduce the damage caused by these disasters."
Nadi Chamber of Commerce president Doctor Ram Raju said the food items removed in Nadi was estimated at more than $15 million.
"The loss here would be much more and we could be looking at approximately $15 million," Dr Raju said.
"We are in the process of conducting a survey to find out losses by all other shops that should be completed later next week.
"This is the worst recorded in Nadi's history and every effort will be made to prevent such a huge loss and damage in the future."
Ba Town Council special administrator Arun Prasad said the town damaged food items was more than $10 million.
Divisional Health Officer Dip Chand said awareness had been made to business people not to sell damaged goods.
"Pamphlets have been distributed to business people to make them realise that selling of damaged goods is illegal and people have also been advised to report the matter to health offices should they have information of shops selling damaged goods," said Mr Chand.
"I believe the cost of these damaged food items will cost thousands of dollars.
He added that the monitoring of those damaged goods would continue in the next few weeks.