Some residents of Chipata in Eastern province have vowed to continue buying ZAMBEEF meat products because they feel whatever chemicals the company is accused of using to keep their imported products fresh has no effect on them.
A snap survey in the district found that most residents would not stop consuming meat products from ZAMBEEF as they felt that there was nothing wrong with the products.
Mwanida Phiri of Kapata Township in Chipata said her family had been eating Zambeef meat products for a longtime that even now that it was discovered of having the chemicals which were used to embalm bodies, they would continue consuming the products.
“If the chemical is harmful, we could have seen by now so there is no difference between before and now,” she said.
And John Mtonga of the same township said he would continue buying meat from ZAMBEEF for his family because he saw nothing wrong with the products.
Mr Mtonga argued that chemicals were used in almost everything that was edible including maize which needed fertiliser at various stages of its growth.
Meanwhile,the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International, a leading policy research and advocacy non-governmental organisation (NGO) has called on Government to take action against Zambeef regardless of the company’s contribution and standing in the economy.
CUTS centre coordinator Simon Ng’ona said the revelations by an independent verifier on selected Zambeef products containing aromatic aldehydes was distasteful and a mockery to consumer’s rights.
Government had in the recent weeks tested meat samples taken from different batches and outlets of Zambeef which confirmed the presence of foreign matter.
Aromatic aldehydes are normally used as a preservative including embalming of dead bodies.
Further independent laboratory analysis undertaken in South Africa on Zambeef products confirmed the presence of aldehydes.
Mr Ng’ona in a statement yesterday said in view of this development, Government needed to take punitive action against Zambeef regardless of its contribution and standing in the country’s 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,” Mr Ng’ona said.
He said right to be provided with safe products and services remained an inalienable element of human rights and that by selling any products containing contaminated stuff was likely to harm citizen consumers.
Further, Mr Ng’ona said, taking advantage of the ignorance of consumers on their rights and responsibilities and subjecting them to harmful products or services that had a health risk remained an unpardonable act.
He called for strengthening of regulations on labeling and divulging of full information on products and services in Zambia adding that some of authorities tasked with the responsibility to protect consumers’ interest needed to wake up from slumber and provide the 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,” he said.