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Health Concern j

Health Concern j

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Published by: Andrew Mwamba on Jul 14, 2013
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07/14/2013

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Zambeef products ‘shunned’

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Posted June 23, 2013 by mitia in Featured

; By CHUSA SICHONE -

ZAMBEEF Products Plc’s butcheries yesterday recorded a slump in business following revelations that the company has been importing beef products containing aromatic aldehydes. A check by the Sunday Times at the company’s outlets on Freedom wayMumbwa Road junction, Kanyama’s Los Angeles Road and Chawama branches in Lusaka found that the shops had been operational but the clientele base had drastically gone down. In some cases, the outlets were forced to close earlier due to the lack of customers, although the company’s chief executive officer Francis Grogan said all Zambeef business points remained open until end-of-business at 17:00 hours. Mr Grogan insisted that outlets were operating normally and reiterated his earlier statement that reports that the company had been importing contaminated beef were a smear campaign by a former employee. But some of the firm’s employees and several customers talked to at the Zambeef Plc branches said allegations that imported beef products contained aromatic aldehydes had forced them to fear consuming the beef from the company. Meanwhile, fresh information into the Zambeef aromatic aldehydes saga has revealed that the firm tried to cover up the contaminated beef products so that the scam could not be exposed.

“When they are seized then the particular institution. In this case. “Results took a bit of time to be released.” Mr Mumba said. in this case Zambeef. “For the case of Chongwe. some of them were physically removed. In Kitwe.” Mr Mumba alleged that the Kitwe City Council officer in question attested to being intimidated by Zambeef officials and senior Kitwe City Council officers to the extent of threatening to dismiss him from his job if he did not succumb to their pressure. especially that test results had taken long to be released. so our colleagues (Zambeef) were being impatient and they cited issues to do with losing business. so that is obstruction of Justice. and that the pressure to release the seized products was owing to Zambeef’s impatience as the company said it was losing business. . the officer who seized and signed for those items was pressurised to release them. The ZIEH officials said tampering with seized products was unlawful as it bordered on a serious offence of obstruction of justice and urged relevant lawenforcement agencies to bring the culprits to book. They wanted these things to quickly go into circulation. ZIEH vice-president Chabala Chanda and the Copperbelt chapter president Kentzo Mumba disclosed this during a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday. adding that the seized items would not be released until test results were out. “We are informed that some of the huge quantity of suspected adulterated meat seized by some of our members in Chongwe and the Copperbelt were tampered with by Zambeef. meaning that their owners lost ownership once that action was taken. The officer gave in to the pressure and released the items. they (products) are not even there.” Mr Mumba said. while others had been tampered with. ceased to have authority over those items. they were supposed to be detained.According to the Zambia Institute of Environmental Health (ZIEH). “We are calling upon officers in the respective districts to ensure that legal action is instituted to bring to book those who tampered with the seized meat according to the provisions of Section 24 (9) of the Food and Drugs Act Cap 303 of the Laws of Zambia.” Mr Mumba said when items were seized. Thus the tampering. like we have indicated. seized adulterated products in Chongwe and Kitwe were missing.” Mr Chanda said.

The ZIEH also said the Food and Drugs Laboratory set up by the State as provided for in the Food and Drug Act was competent to conduct tests. Efforts to get a comment from Zambeef Plc public relations manager Justo Kopulande proved futile as by Press time as his phone was unanswered. The ZIEH appealed to the Government to consider establishing provincial laboratories for quick analysis of collected samples. Zambeef Plc is at the centre of controversy for selling imported beef products which allegedly contain aromatic aldehyde. hooves and offals. among other imported products. The company has since withdrawn all its imported beef products from sale at all its outlets countrywide until the Ministry of Health fully investigates the matter. a chemical used to embalm dead bodies and can cause organic cancer in humans.Mr Mumba said the discovery was made between April and May this year in both Chongwe and Kitwe and identified the seized products as kidneys. The institute further urged all environmental health officers countrywide to ensure that the country’s laws were followed to the letter to protect human health and that sources of all meat sold by different suppliers should be known. . bovine or ox liver.

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