Latest Tests confirm Aldehydes in Zambeef meat
Further contamination of some imported meat products in local outlets had also been confirmed.
Dr Kasonde said Zambeef will face appropriate action as prescribed by the law, but did not state the exact punitive action that will be mooted.
D Kasonde said his ministry was on increased alert following the shocking discovery regarding Zambeef contaminated meat last month.
Dr Kasonde said this in Parliament yesterday when he presented an updated ministerial statement on the findings of the investigations on Zambeef imported meat products.
“The findings from further laboratory analysis undertaken in South Africa have confirmed the presence of formaldehydes in meat samples taken from different batches and outlets of Zambeef.
“Following up on the results of the investigation, my Ministry will take appropriate action on this matter as prescribed by the existing laws in order to ensure adherence to food safety standards in the country,” Dr Kasonde said.
Aromatic aldehydes are normally used as a preservative including in embalming of corpses and industrial purposes.
He said monitoring of food products by inspection and testing of samples on importation and local storage and sales points had proved effective as a way to protect the public from consuming contaminated material.
“The affected meat products are the interiors and hooves which are mainly imported and it is therefore important that we establish the point of contamination, a task we have vigorously embarked on,” he said.
Dr Kasonde said Zambeef had abrogated the Public Health Act Cap 295 of the laws of Zambia Meat, abattoir and butcheries regulations and the abattoir and transport of meat regulations and the Food and Drugs Act Cap 303.
“Formaldehyde (aromatic aldehydes) is in a group of aldehydes and is a compound mainly used in embalming corpses for preservation and is also used in industrial activities. Formaldehyde is not listed among the preservatives in our Food and Drugs Act because of its harmful nature,” he said.
He warned that vending in fresh meat and fish products on the streets could also increase the possibility of contamination, therefore, his Ministry with the involvement of the local authorities would intensify routine monitoring of food and strengthen surveillance not only in points of entry but also within the country.
This was for the sole purpose of ensuring food safety and guarantee of quality of life of the people.
He said normal business would be resumed by various meat suppliers, with the assurance to the public that the intensified surveillance system would remain in effect.
Dr Kasonde informed the House that the 13 trucks containing imported fresh fish whose results were negative for aromatic ketones and aldehydes, had since been released for the owners to conduct business-as-usual as per standard surveillance guidelines.
He said in carrying out the investigations, the Ministry of Health had worked in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and other relevant ministries to facilitate for the smooth investigation process.
The Ministry of Health was also monitoring the importation of fish into the country.