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Employ stock rotation to maintain quality products

ZABS with HAZEL ZULU
OUR message remains consistent until we see a Zambia that is free of defective and dangerous products. We have always reminded consumers to be quality conscious and join the quality battle with vigilance. We know that if we work together with you our stakeholders, then our partnership will yield the positive results that we long for. We have also repeatedly urged manufacturers, traders and importers to abide by the Standards Act Cap 416 of the Laws of Zambia, so that the products that they put on the market are safe, reliable and of the set standard.
We have advised that consumers should demand for quality products by taking time to read the product details on the packaging of the product. Consumers should be conscious of the manufacturing date and the expiry date as well as the origin of a product. They should also take care to see the storage and handling of products, as all this, if not followed properly, can compromise the quality of the products.
Part V of the Standards Act gives provision to protect the consumer against defective and dangerous commodities. Under this part, the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, through the Bureau, is empowered to prohibit or restrict the use of any commodity found to be dangerous or defective.
Today I want to share with you, dear reader, one issue that has become of great concern to the Zambia Bureau of Standards. Yes, it is the absence of vital information (traceability information) on products in some of our shops. I want to remind you that proper product labelling is a form of consumer protection as it gives the consumer information about a given product. It allows the consumer to make an informed decision before settling for a particular product.
In the last six weeks or so, our inspectors throughout the country, particularly those based in some of our provincial centres, conducted some spot checks on various shops. Their focus was to check levels of compliance to set standards on regulated products and to also educate shop owners about the need to be familiar with the Standards Act, and in particular to understand and know the various standards that exist in our country. I know you do agree with me that standards are established to safeguard the health and safety of the public who are the consumers of the many products that are sold on the market.
The market surveillances and inspections that our inspectors undertook resulted in ZABS confiscating a range of products from some Shoprite outlets and other shops for failure to comply with relevant standards. On March 23, 2016, ZABS inspected the two Shoprite outlets in Livingstone and confiscated 326×500 grams of bar soap known as Brite Lite soap valued at K2,767.74, because it did not have batch numbers nor the date of manufacture as is required by the Zambian Standard, ZS 058.
On March 3, 2016, ZABS conducted an inspection of Mongu Shoprite and confiscated products that did not have vital traceability information such as batch numbers, expiration dates and dates of manufacture. The products were valued at K2,978. On April 5 and 7, 2016, ZABS inspected Chingola and Kafubu Mall Shoprite and seized expired products valued at approximately K900. Other products in these two outlets had no traceability information such as batch numbers.
ZABS would like to send a warning to traders and manufacturers that selling of poorly labelled products is a violation of the Standards Act Cap 416 of the Laws of Zambia, and may result in them losing their permit to supply.
More so, we want to remind industry, importers and retailers to put in place an effective stock rotation schedule to guarantee that the stocks in their warehouses are sold on first-in, first-out basis to avoid keeping goods that have expired, due to poor warehousing practices. Take heed!
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For more information contact the director, Zambia Bureau of Standards, Lechwe House, Freedom Way, P.O. Box 50259, Lusaka. Tel: 260-211-231385, zabs@zamnet.org.zm
The author is head of marketing and public relations. Email-hzulu@zabs.org.zm