MALAWI – The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) has taken firm action against ten businesses in Mzuzu and Lilongwe for failing to meet minimum food handling requirements, suspending their operations until further notice.

These establishments, including renowned names like Suhana Continental Bakery and Our Daily Bread Bakery, were found to be operating below the standards outlined in Malawi Standard (MS) 21: 2002.

Others included Sanaa Superstore, Midland Fast Foods, Macdeena Cash N Carry, Chipiku Stores Game Complex, Immaculate Lodge, Korea Gardens, Perekezi Enterprises, and Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union Limited.

The suspension follows a recent regulatory assessment by the MBS, highlighting critical lapses in hygiene and food handling practices among the affected businesses. This decisive move stresses the MBS’ unwavering commitment to upholding consumer safety and ensuring that food products meet quality standards.

John Kapito, Executive Director of the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama), voiced his disappointment at the disregard for hygiene standards among businesses, emphasizing the need for accountability in the food industry.

Kapito’s sentiments echo the concerns of consumers across the nation regarding the safety of food products.

As the suspended businesses work to rectify their shortcomings, consumers are urged to remain vigilant and exercise caution when purchasing food products. By supporting initiatives that prioritize food safety, consumers can play an active role in fostering a culture of accountability within the industry.

While the suspension may pose challenges for the affected businesses, it serves as a crucial opportunity for them to address deficiencies and regain consumer trust, reports BNN.

Hayat Natural Mineral Bottled Water recalled

In a related event, MBS has also revoked the certification and production of Hayat Natural Mineral Bottled Water by Thirsty Juice Company, located in Njewa, Lilongwe. This decision follows the discovery of critical non-compliance with food safety parameters during routine regulatory assessments.

Laboratory tests conducted by the MBS revealed significant deviations from the minimum requirements outlined in Malawi Standard (MS) 560:2004. Batch number 2023:11:01 of Hayat Natural Mineral Water-500 ml was identified as defective and potentially hazardous for consumer use, prompting immediate action to protect public health.

Under the provisions of the Malawi Bureau of Standards Act (Cap 51:02), Sections 34 (1), 39 (1), and 41, the MBS has imposed restrictions on the distribution of the affected batch of Hayat Natural Mineral Bottled Water. The product is to be removed from all market streams across the country without delay, prioritizing the safety and well-being of consumers.

Thirsty Juice Company Limited has been directed to halt the manufacturing and distribution of Hayat bottled water until all identified deficiencies in food safety parameters are rectified. Compliance with relevant Malawi Standards is essential for the re-issuance of certification, and the company is required to recall the products from all retail outlets by 15th February 2024.

The MBS has advised retail outlets to promptly withdraw Hayat Natural Mineral Bottled Water from their shelves to prevent consumer access. Additionally, the general public is urged to refrain from purchasing or consuming the affected product to mitigate potential health risks.

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