“The revelations by an independent verifier on selected Zambeef meat products containing aromatic aldehydes is distasteful and a mockery to consumer’s rights” said CUTS a leading policy research and advocacy group in a statement released here today.
Government had in the recent months tested meat samples taken from different batches and outlets of Zambeef which confirmed the presence of the foreign matter. Aromatic aldehydes are normally used as a preservative including embalming of corpses. Further independent laboratory analysis undertaken in South Africa has confirmed the presence of aldehydes used in embalming of corpses a development which was confirmed by the Minister of Health, Dr Joseph Kasonde in the Parliament yesterday.
In view of this development, Government needs to whip the company regardless of its contribution and standing in the Zambian economy. All existing legal statutes which have been breached by this action ought to be considered and the fine should serve as a deterrent to those adopting similar practices and would be offenders.
“Right to be provided with safe products and services remain an inalienable element of human rights. By selling any products containing contaminated stuff is likely to harm citizen-consumers” said CUTS.
Further, taking advantage of the ignorance of consumers on their rights and responsibilities and subjecting them to harmful products or services that have a health risk remains an unpardonable act. There is need to strengthen regulations on labeling and divulging of full information on products and services in Zambia. Some of the authorities tasked with the responsibility to protect consumers’ interest need to wake-up from slumber and provide the much needed regulatory oversight. Consumer protection needs a collective action. We can’t have a situation where only a few doted regulators show devotion towards this quest while others ignore their responsibility.