Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Sub-standard Indian alcoholic spirits flooding Botswana market

Law enforcement agencies are soon expected to raid some major supermarkets around the country that are selling imported sub-standard illicit beverages.

The Botswana Alcohol Industry Association (BAIA) wants the perpetrators to be brought to book.
”The Botswana Alcohol Industry Association has become aware of some alcoholic beverages in the market that we believe neither conform to international best practice or to the Southern African Development Community protocol in terms of health warnings, publishing ingredients and packaging standards,” said BAIA Chairman Tom Mpedi.

He added that already his office has received complaints of such cheap and below standard beverages.

He highlighted that some of these sub standards alcoholic spirits are produced in India while others are suspected to be coming from South Africa but did not rule out that still some might also be coming from other countries other than the two.

“It is international best practice that consumers should know that what they eat or drink is made of, therefore the absence of such information on these drinks is not only breaking the law but denying consumers to know what they are taking and how dangerous they may be for them,” Mpedi said.

When asked what the association will do to address the matter, he replied that, “As responsible manufacturers and distributors of alcoholic beverages in Botswana, BAIA is concerned and condemns any act of non-compliance and such practices of this nature that tarnish the image of the industry.”

He added that BAIA is willing and ready to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and regulation overseers in Botswana to bring the culprits to book.

However some members of BAIA, who opted to remain anonymous, said that this has now become a very serious problem in the country.

They claimed that such products are not even allowed to be sold in India and wonder how such products not only managed to enter into Botswana but end up on shelves of respectable supermarkets and other liquor outlets.

“Where on earth can one buy a 750ml bottle of whisky for P25?” one of them asked. “We hope that the relevant authorities will act quickly to address the matter before it gets out of control.”
Meanwhile, the Botswana Bureau of Standards Public Relations Unit promised to release a statement on Friday afternoon but it had still not come by the time of going to press.

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