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Relabeled Tuna As Showcase Of Commercial Fraud In Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia, August 27, 12

Tawfiq Fouzan Al-Rabe’ah, Minister of Commerce and Industry, said his ministry would continue to implement the practice of naming and shaming companies found guilty of fraud in local newspapers.

“Those who commit commercial fraud will not be spared. The ministry receives around 15,000 reports on fraud and tampering cases every month. This costs the Saudi economy billions of riyals in losses annually,” he said.

In a statement, Al-Rabe’ah called on residents to communicate with the ministry and report cases of commercial fraud and counterfeit goods. The minister said residents can file reports by calling the ministry’s fraud hotline or submit reports through their smart phones by downloading a program from the ministry’s website.

“The practice of naming and shaming companies is being carried out in accordance with a royal decree that clearly states any commercial establishment found guilty of fraud including price inflation should be named.”

According to unofficial estimates, commercial fraud causes losses estimated at SR40 billion (USD 10.6 billion) annually.

Earlier this summer, the ministry seized 2,700 cartons of canned tuna after the manufacturer replaced the original expiration labels on the cans with newer ones.

Commenting on the large haul, Fahd Al-Huthaili, director general of the Department for Combating Commercial Fraud at the ministry, said the manufacturer had violated ministry regulations that require manufacturers to place a single label on food products that specifies both production and expiry dates.

The manufacturer had placed two labels on the packages. The first one had the original dates (production: 10/2011 and expiry: 10/2012), while another label in which the expiry date was changed to 10/2013, was used to cover the first label. Al-Huthaili said although the original expiry date had not yet passed, the cans were confiscated due the manufacturer’s violation of ministry regulations.