As I See: Thumbs Up Zambeef Team!

Chanoda NgwiraBy Chanoda Ngwira

Seeing headlines about ZAMBEEF’s disposing off of all imported products which were allegedly said to be contaminated with Aromatic Aldehydes as well as Formaldehydes makes interesting reading, and one can only say, this is a good move and thumbs up to the company which employs over 5 000 local people.

However, let us not just rush into saying that, the allegations which were made against this noble company leaves quite a number of questions which may have no answers as is obtaining on the ground.

Firstly, it was said in the media that the products that ZAMBEEF was importing were tested positive of Aromatic Aldehydes a chemical which was believed to be used to embalm dead bodies according to the media and the earlier statements given by the Ministry of Health and the Lusaka and Kitwe City councils, this issue brought in a number of debates ranging from whether Zambia had competent Laboratories to carry out such tests, as well as whether the said chemicals are factually used for embalming dead bodies.

It is interesting to note that this debate left the Zambian people wondering who is saying the truth between independent scientist/researchers and government scientists/researchers, however, it was widely known that Aromatic Aldehydes are not used to embalm dead bodies, but are rather used as preservatives and flavourants in many factories, but that Formaldehydes are the ones used to embalm dead bodies.

There was a further action by government authorities which was taken against ZAMBEEF concerning the impounded ZAMBEEF trucks at some border which carried imported products, and am sure these products where in the shipping process the time the whole saga started.

When the products where taken for tests, it was discovered that the results of the said products were negative of Aromatic Aldehydes as well as Formaldehydes, the question is, did the people from the source follow the consignment and went to change the products for the them(products) to be tested negative? These are issues and questions one would really want to know…

In view of the above, government in conjunction with ZAMBEEF took samples from the products which first tested positive of Aromatic Aldehydes to South Africa for further tests, interestingly, it was discovered that the results tested positive of Formaldehydes according to the latest Ministerial statement by Dr. Joseph Kasonde, our Minister of Health.

This chemical am sure is different from Aromatic Aldehydes which were first said to be found in the products, and another question is, at what point was the contamination done and by who????? These are questions which really need answers.

Nevertheless, let me point out here that regardless of the above observations which ZAMBEEF could have used to follow this matter up with relevant authorities in establishing the true picture, the company has voluntarily decided to with immediate effect stop selling imported beef products in all its outlets and further dispose off the said products by burning in full view of the government representatives, stakeholders as well as the media.

This is not a joke fellow Zambians, only a responsible company can take such a board step even when they had grounds to follow the matter up before taking any action. And am sure ZAMBEEF needs our outmost support for showing its commitment to feeding the nation as their motto states, not only do they feed the nation, they also employ thousands of Zambian people thereby bringing about Job creation and stability.

I therefore once more, implore the citizens or should I say consumers to support this noble company and keep buying the local beef.