Zambeef's profits and the lives of our people By Editor on Saturday 22 June 2013, 14:00:00 CAT (1118 Reads) It is very

clear that Zambeef is not handling the issue of its meat products that have been found to contain aromatic aldehyde in an honest and sincere manner. We fully appreciate their desperation because this matter is not a small one. This is an issue that could adversely affect their profits. But there is a concern that is far bigger than their profits and that is the wellbeing, health and lives of the many Zambians who consume their products. This doesn't seem to be the main concern of Zambeef. Their main preoccupation is the preservation of their business and not of the lives of the many Zambians whose health and lives could be affected by their products. Today, Zambia wants to cast doubt on the competence of the Food and Drug Control Laboratory based at the University Teaching Hospital. This is a public institution that does such tests as is required by law. There are many people who are in prison today as a result of the tests carried out by this institution. Why should Zambeef be an exception? It is unjustified arrogance for Zambeef to think there are no competent Zambians to carry out competent tests on the foodstuffs they import into this country. In effect, what Zambeef is saying is that no Zambian or Zambian institution is fit to certify any of the products they import into this country and such certification, if adverse, should only come from European or South African institutions. This is not acceptable. This is tantamount to Zambeef putting itself above the law. It is not acceptable for Zambeef to think that they can take their sample abroad, get them tested and bring their results here and impose them on Zambian institutions. This arrogance has to be brought to an end. We know that Zambeef has amassed a lot of money, it is a very rich company. But we also know that the money that Zambeef has made comes from the sweat of our people. Who doesn't know how much money Zambeef made from the animals they bought cheaply from Western, Southern and Central provinces? Who also doesn't know how much money they have made from importing cheap tripe, livers, hooves from abroad for almost nothing and selling them to our people at a gigantic profit? No one has problems with Zambeef making such profits. But there is a problem if such profits are making Zambeef arrogant and to think they are above the law. The best thing that Zambeef can do in these circumstances is not to antagonise officers of state institutions mandated with the responsibility to examine all foodstuffs being imported into this country and sold to our people. It will not help Zambeef to try and portray itself as a victim of malice or ill-will when it is themselves who have issues to explain to the public. Whatever the denials, aromatic aldehyde has been found in their meat products. And there is no way they can deny this. The best they can do is to admit there is a problem and cooperate with the authorities in resolving the problem. Trying to posture around, pretending there is nothing

Many diseases are transmitted through foodstuffs. There is no malice from state institutions or even from ourselves. But these are financial losses that can be recovered later. And the inspection of food may occur at any stage in the production and distribution stage to ensure food safety. . Public health authorities on the Copperbelt went even as far as applying for and obtaining court orders to force them to remove some products from their shelves. The authorities seem to have gone to slumber. And our health inspectors are government officers empowered by law to perform a regulatory or enforcement function or both when it comes to food. This is a wake-up call to public health inspectors to take their work seriously. But in all this. If Zambeef was serious and had reasonable concern for the duties and rights of public institutions. Selling food is not like selling widgets. and their production systems. The confidence of consumers in the quality and safety of their food supply depends in part on their perception as to the effectiveness of food control measures.wrong will not help Zambeef. A whole population of a country can be wiped out through contaminated foodstuffs. Tests can be conducted on samples from all these people. One cannot claim to uphold the sanctity of life if they do not care about the safety of what the public consumes. So why is this posturing? City councils are mandated through their health inspectors to ensure that food that is offered for public consumption is not only free from disease. all these issues are documented and Zambeef cannot deny it. including institutions representing consumers. Denials won't help. Again. to address this problem. but should be of nature quality and quantity as demanded by the purchaser. there is need for transparency. The losses to the health of our people cannot be so easily recovered as some of them may result in death. they would have addressed this issue and they wouldn't be receiving the negative publicity they are today subjected to. for example in meat and meat products. there will be losses on the part of Zambeef. Contaminated foods can cause serious problems to the health of our people and even death. While respecting legitimate concerns to preserve confidentiality. It is also a wakeup call to those dealing in foodstuffs to take their responsibilities seriously. endangering public health. Yes. And they shouldn't forget that their meat products are in the cold-rooms. depends upon the use of inspection and certification systems. A substantial part of the world-wide trade in food. the principles and operations of food inspection and certification systems should be open to scrutiny by consumers and their representative organisations and other interested parties. deep freezers. It is something that should have been happening but has not been happening. There is no politics in this. These issues started as early as February this year and there is enough correspondence from public health institutions concerning this matter. Food inspection and certification systems should be used whenever appropriate to ensure that food. We hope Zambeef can take a more responsible attitude and acknowledge that there is a problem and work with the government and other interested parties. Zambeef's problems did not start yesterday. meet requirements in order to protect consumers against food-borne hazards and deceptive marketing practices. So what is happening to Zambeef is not something strange. fridges and pots of so many homes.

It is the duty of the government and its institutions or agencies to regulate industries and commerce to protect public health and the lives of our people from harmful products and business practices. . We hope the government on this matter will take the side of the people and not that of Zambeef's profits.

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