There is urgent need for the Government to explain the status of the Zambeef hoax.
Media surveys around the country indicate serious public apprehension regarding the presence of Aromatic Aldehyde which Zambians have been told a very dangerous chemical that is carcinogenic.
A general impression has been created that all Zambeef meat is contaminated. And sadly contrary to the fact and evidence those who started the hoax have made no attempts whatever to apologise and clarify the situation.
Equally the current equivocation and silence by the Government is not helping the situation as it seems to suggest that they agree with the alleged finding by a laboratory suggesting meat contamination.
The truth is that few Zambians can distinguish between Aromatic Aldehyde and Formaldehyde and even fewer know that the batches allegedly tested by a laboratory were from imported stock composed of offals, hooves and kidneys.
In the absence of an official explanation regarding the difference between the two Zambians are left to their own devises and predictably many prefer safety and health by staying away from meat believing it to be contaminated.
The Government and particularly the laboratory that confirmed the presence of Aromatic Aldehyde must come out in the open and explain the significance of their finding . they must explain that the chemical is not used for embalming and preserving flesh.
More importantly they must explain that the suspected samples were drawn from imported kidneys, hooves and offal and not from the locally sourced meat.
The failure to make this distinction means that all meat is suspect including the locally sourced products.
This, obviously was and perhaps still remains as the intention of those who started the hoax. That is why the Government must distance itself from the fray and state the situation as it stands. The issues must be isolated and dealt with in the appropriate manner
Zambeef has agreed to remove all imported products which must now be subjected to Government examination. Government must confirm this fact to re-assure consumers who are still laboring under the impression that all meat is contaminated.
The failure to make this clarification is a great disservice because it unfairly disadvantages Zambeef which may face a decline and perhaps crisis that will lead to other consequences.
The generalized media allegation made no distinction between imported and locally sources beef products and more importantly made no admission to the falsity of the scientific conclusion drawn by likening chemicals that were totally different.