Cama proposes external standards for local products

Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) has said it will resort to having both local and international products certified abroad in view of alleged laxity by Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) to enforce standards.

In an interview yesterday, Cama executive director John Kapito said this should be the case in the wake of the recall from the market of defective batches of Sobo Orange Squash produced by Castel Malawi Limited, formerly Carlsberg Malawi Limited.

Sobo Orange Squash on display in a shop in Blantyre after the order

While faulting MBS for allegedly failing to enforce standard of the product before it was off-loaded to the market, he said recalling the product for the second time within months has led to consumers’ loss of trust in the bureau.

Said Kapito: “We are very surprised that MBS had to do laboratory tests on the product after an outcry from the public on the same. We thought they were supposed to be safeguarding the health of the products by having all products certifies and tested before they are brought to the market.

“We will not sit and watch MBS sleep on their job. We will be sending all the products on the market for certification outside the country because we feel we don’t have to wait for MBS to receive queries first ,before they check whether what we are consuming is of standards or not.”

He said MBS is failing Malawian consumers as it is failing to thoroughly test various local and international products that have flooded the market.

Following the introduction of new formulation of Sobo Orange Squashes after the lifting of the previous MBS ban on the product containing the unpermitted tartazine food additive, the bureau started receiving queries from the public that some of the batches of new Sobo Orange Formulation were showing suspensions of sediments.

Yesterday, MBS ordered Castel to withdraw defected Sobo Orange Squashes by March 29 2019 failure which the bureau will start confiscating the products from the market at the manufactures expense, apart from withdrawing the permit that was issued on Sobo Orange Squash in line with MBS Act Number 14 of 2012.

The order follows laboratory test conducted on the product earlier this year following queries from the public that some of the new product formulation were showing some suspension of sediments.

The defected Sobo Orange Squash batch number include B06,b07 02,B1102, B13 02, B16 02, B18 02, B18 02, B21 02, B25 02, B26 02, B27 02, B36 02, B207, B208 and B226.

Briefing journalists at MBS headquarters in Blantyre yesterday, MBS deputy director general  Willy Muyira said the laboratory results on tests conducted on the Sobo Orange Squashes, done within this first quarter of 2019, showed that apart from this visible sedimentation non-conformity, other physical, chemical and microbiological parameters tested showed compliance with MS 177-Specification.

“The product should not be patronised because it is not meeting the standards,” he said.

In a separate interview, Castel Malawi Limited managing director Gills Leclerc, while confirming having received a letter from MBS yesterday on the same, said they have since requested an audience with the bureau for clarifications.

In August last year, the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) also fined Castel K35.4 million for supplying the market with “products likely to cause harm to consumers” and K500 000 for supplying products containing foreign objects.

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