THE Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) has intensified surveillance of products in rural areas and recently inspected 37 shops in Mwinilunga and Ikelenge districts of North-Western Province to check levels of compliance on regulated products.
ZABS head of marketing and public relations, Hazel Zulu, said the institution conducted market surveillance and inspections in the two districts to assess levels of compliance on products that fall under mandatory standards.
Ms Zulu said the bureau undertook a joint operation with personnel from the local authorities and the District Health Management Board between the 8th and 9th of September 2015.
“During the operation, ZABS was checking on products that fall under mandatory standards in reference to the Standards Act while the local authorities were using the Food and Drugs Act,” she said.
The products were confiscated because they were either expired or labeled in Portuguese as some of the products were believed to have been smuggled into the country from Angola.
Ms Zulu said expired products included cooking oil, biscuits and margarine and that products that were labeled in Portuguese were energy drinks, clear beer and fruit juices.
“The total estimated cost of the products rejected and confiscated during the operation was K5, 000 with Mwinilunga recording a value of K4, 000 and Ikelenge K1, 000,” she said.
She cautioned the public against buying and using products that were expired as their quality could not be guaranteed. Ms Zulu explained that products whose quality was not assured could be a risk to the health and safety of consumers and a deterrent to the economic development of the country.
“ZABS would also like to alert traders against selling products that are labeled in foreign languages as it is a violation of the Standards Act, cap 416 of the laws of Zambia,” she said.
The bureau urged consumers to report any such products to ZABS offices so that appropriate action could be taken immediately.