PRINCIPLE OF CONSUMER EDUCATION
Consumer education can be defined as the process of enlightening the public about their right as food purchases are concerned. It is the process of helping individuals become informed with the information they require in order to know their rights as consumers, discern or judge information and consume intelligently within their means or available resources.
AIMS OF CONSUMER EDUCATION
- To enlighten the public (consumer) about their rights as food purchase are concerned
- To educate the public about various;
- Laws that govern the manufacture and sales of food.
- Standards that manufacturer of food must comply with.
- Sanitary practice that will be following in food handling at all stages until its final consumption.
- To give awareness about activities of various agencies (both federal and state) that work toward protecting the safety of food.
IMPORTANCE OR ADVANTAGES OF CONSUMER EDUCATION
- It enables the consumer to know his/her rights.
- it enables the consumer to discern or assess consumer information, so that he can interpret the available information about the goods and services he is buying e.g. expiring dates weights, brand name e.t.c.
- It enables the consumer to know how and where to buy the goods and services needed.
- It enables the consumer to obtain the best valve for his money.
- It enables the consumer to eliminate waste in consumption
- It can safeguard consumer from dangerous and inferiors good and services, and other unfair selling practices.
THE RIGHTS OF THE CONSUMER
The consumer has the following rights.
- The right to safety whatever goods and services made available to the consumer should be safe for consumption.
- The right to be educated and informed about the goods and services he is paying for. The consumer needs to be educated and informed about issues relating to what he is consuming. Appropriate information should be supplied by manufacturer.
- The right to choose4 what he want: The consumer should not be forced to accept undesirable goods and services.
- The right to speak: the consumer should be allowed to express his/her views about the available goods and services.
- The right to satisfy – whatever goods and services made available to the consumer should be safe.
- The right to be informed about goods and services in details before buying.
- The right to choose what is needed want
- The right to express views about the available goods and services.
- The right to seek for redress.
- The right to buy from any shop.
- The right to be heard.
- The right to demand for demonstration of use for large equipment.
- The right to bargain.
- The right to healthy environment
- The right to legal protection
- The right to educate a seller or producer.
These are the people involved in the distribution network of goods. They include the following.
- Manufacturer: these are people who produce goods from the consumers. Their products are mostly packed in food packed substances such as cellophane, tins, bottles, plastics, foil e.t.c.
- Major distributors: these are people who buy in large quantities direct from the industries. These distributors sell to the sub-distributors.
- Sub-distributors or wholesalers: they buy goods from major distributors of manufactured goods or from manufacturers and sell them to retailer. They buy in bulk or whole, hence they are referred to as wholesaler. Wholesaler also passes information from retailers to manufacturers. They assist in decongesting the warehouse of the manufacturer and therefore give room for new production.
- Retailer: they buy in small quantities from the wholesalers and sell to consumers. In order to satisfy the wants of individual customers, retailers have to buy and stock small quantities of a variety of goods. They also have a direct contact with the consumer and therefore help in bringing the feeling and complaint of consumers to the manufacturers through the wholesalers. At times retailer can also be inform of hawkers and sales agent.
- Consumers: these are the final people that purchase goods for the sole purpose of making use of them. Without the consumers, the retailer, wholesaler and manufacturer would not be able to dispose of their goods and hence there would be no production. The retailer, wholesaler and manufacturer should at all times put the consumer’s interest in mind and they should listen to their complaints and comments.
GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND REGULATION
These are various government bodies with the formulation of food standards and laws, their enforcement and implementation. Examples of government agencies are:
- Codex Alimentation Commission – an international body (World Food Agency)
- Standard Organisation of Nigeria SON – National body
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)
CODEX ALIMENTATION COMMISSION: This is the world organisation that controls the standard of foods and drug would wide. All countries are expected to be members of this body. The commission is jointly sponsored by the food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the world health organisation (WHO)
STANDARD ORGANISATION OF NIGERIA (SON)
It is a division of the federal ministry of trade and industries set up in 1970. Its functions are:
- To formulate standards for the products (manufactured foods) produced within and imported into Nigeria.
- To design, establish and approve standard in respect of metrology (weights and measures). Material commodities, structures and processes for the certification of products in commerce and industrials.
- To standardize methods and products of industries throughout the country
- To provide the necessary measures for quality control of raw materials nd products in conformity with standard specification.
- To ensure that manufacturers adhere to government policy and standardization.
FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA):
It is set up in 1974 under the Federal Ministry of Health. Its functions are:
- Formulates standard for foods and drugs in Nigeria.
- Makes provision for the appointment of Food Inspecting Officer (FIOs) who monitors the activities of food manufacturers, supermarkets and restaurants and ensure that the set standards and laws are followed.
- FIOs prevent the sale of adulterated and misbranded food items to the consumers.
NATIONAL AGENCY FOR FOOD AND DRUGS ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL (NAFDAC)
- To prohibit the sale of any food or drugs prepared under unsanitary conditions
- Check fake advertising of foods and drugs
- Ensure that manufactures maintain approved standard with respect to foods and drugs
- To monitor the activities of food establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cold- rooms market and food manufacturing companies and enforce proper environment and personal hygiene.
- To prohibit the sale of goods that are poisonous or unfit for human consumption
THE PRICE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
This was established in 1976 as research arm of the price control board. It was formed to uncover all forms of mal-practice engaged in by suppliers, manufacturers and importers towards endangering the rights of consumers. This Agency works as a watchdog of the price, control board and has the following objectives:
- To study continuosly and interprete price movement and their relationship to other development in the national economy.
- To map out measures for the regulation of prices in various sectors of economy and for the control of hoarding. Hoarding is one of the measure through which seller increase the prices of their commondities.
- To check and also supervise the sale price maintenance
- To cooperate with similar board to obtain continuously the factory price at goods imported into Nigeria so that it can regulate the prices of these internally.
SOME CONSUMER PRACTICES
DEFINITION OF TERMS
- FOOD STANDARDS: are body of rules and regulations governing the manufacture and sale of food items in any given country or locality. It also includes specification that must be conformed to by all products.
- HIRE PURCHASE: is when by agreement between buyer and a seller, a certain proportion of the cost of product id deposited and the balance is expected to be paid on regular instalment basis until it is liquidated. The goods do not belong to the buyer until he or she complete the payments. The goods can be seized from the buyer if he or she defaults in the instalmental payment.
- CREDIT PURCHASE: is when part of the cost of the product is paid with the promise that the balance will be paid either by monthly or at once. The goods belong to the buyer immediately and are taken away.
- IMPULSE BUYING: is an act of buying goods by merely seeing them without being planned or budgeted for. Some goods are bought because of the attractive package or display without thinking whether one really needs them or not. Such purchasing is often unwise and expensive.
- ADULTERATED FOODS: this is when food is;
- Filthy, putrid or decomposed
- Produced under insanitary conditions
- Contains any substance dangerous to health which might have been concealed by either colouring or flavouring.
- Produced from a dead animal e.g. suya
- Any valuable ingredient has been omitted or subtituted in whole.
- state 5 rights of consumers
- state and explain the types of consumer agents
- what are the aims of consumer education
- state 2 government agencies of consumer education and their functions