The Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency (ZCSA), a statutory body under the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry (MCTI), is warning of punitive measures against all importers who are illegally importing unsafe products especially used undergarments.

ZCSA has noted with concern the continued illegal importation of used undergarments in the country by some importers contrary to the provisions of the Compulsory standard for used textile products – Zambian Standard (ZS) 559: Inspection and Acceptance Criteria for Used Textile Products.

ZS 559 prohibits the importation and sale of used textile products containing undergarments such as pyjamas, night gowns, pants, brassieres, camisoles and vests, among others.

Recent enforcement activities conducted by ZCSA revealed that used undergarments are being sold to unsuspecting members of the public in markets and other trading places.

ZCSA will continue withdrawing from the market all used undergarments and other unauthorized products which are within the scope of compulsory standards to protect the consumers.

Traders who sell used undergarments will not be compensated once their products have been seized by the Agency.

As part of its education mandate, ZCSA is discouraging consumers from buying used undergarments as sharing of underclothing is unsafe from the health perspective. The Agency will further continue with enhanced enforcement activities in a bid to protect consumers.

In 2006, the Zambian Government declared the national standard for used textile products as a compulsory standard.

This was aimed at protecting the safety of consumers because used textile products that are worn in very close contact with the skin may cause ailments such as skin rash

Used undergarments might also potentially transmit infections to secondary users of used underwear.

Today (July 5, 2023), ZCSA will host a roadshow at Chisokone Market in Kitwe to raise public awareness on used undergarments and potable spirits.

A similar roadshow was hosted in Lusaka’s Mtendere Market on May 12, 2023 while more trading places will be targeted next year.

On another hand, ZCSA is appealing to the public to only consume regulated potable spirits to protect consumers.

In line with Zambian compulsory standard for potable spirits ZS 808, it is now mandatory for all manufacturers, importers and traders to obtain permits from the Agency to supply any type of potable spirits on the market.

ZCSA will continue educating the public on used undergarments and unregulated potable spirits, among other products within the scope of compulsory standards as provided for under the Compulsory Standards Act No. 3 of 2023.

Public education is being done through the mainstream media, social media, roadshows, stakeholder engagement and exhibitions, among others, in a bid to protect the public and the environment.

The Agency, which has offices in all provincial centres and major border entry points to Zambia, views education as one of the tools for enhancing consumer protection.

ZCSA is mandated by Compulsory Standards Act No. 3 of 2017 to administer, maintain and enforce compulsory standards for the purpose of public safety, health, consumer and environmental protection.

Issued by: Original Copy Signed
Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency