Following a recall of tinned pilchards products by South Africa’s West Point Processors last Saturday citing canning deficiency, there have been fears amongst Zimbabweans that they could have consumed, or are still consuming, poisoned fish.
Making the announcement, West Point Processors said:
“Because consumer safety is our top priority, we wish to recall some Pilchards in Tomato Sauce products. The recall is only related to the 400g Pilchards in Tomato Sauce products which have the specific batch codes starting with ZST2 and ZSC2. There is a small possibility that some tins may have a canning deficiency which could make the product unfit for consumption. We are working to identify the issue and ensure that our product meets the high standard our consumers rightly expect from us.”
Industry and Commerce deputy minister, Raj Modi has resultantly called on the consuming public to be on the lookout for the discredited batch of the fish.
“I advise our wholesalers and retailers in this country to check on the brands they have. If it is any of the brands mentioned in the report and of the affected batch, may they kindly remove them from the shelves. I also call upon border authorities at our ports of entry to ensure that this condemned batch does not find its way into the country. Consumers must report to authorities anyone found selling this product after this warning,” Modi said yesterday.
Zimbabwean supermarkets and retail outlets widely sell products from the neighboring Sadc commercial powerhouse.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe Regional Manager Comfort Muchekeza is wary of the possibility that some households in the country, particularly in the second city of Bulawayo where tinned South African products are predominantly used, could have consumed the recalled products.
“The fact that the consignment is being recalled is a sure indication that they are not fit for human consumption. Consumers should be wary of them. There are so many effects on the human body in particular and health-wise in general caused by consuming food not fit for human consumption. Those in the medical field will better know what real effect these particular fish will cause on the human body but as consumers what they need to do even before they fully understand what effects are likely to be caused by consuming them is not to consume them then seek medical advice in case they have already consumed the fish. If need be, get legal advice and assistance in case there is need for redress,” Muchekeza said.
On the other hand, National Consumer Rights Association coordinator Effie Ncube implored on consumers to comply with the recall and avoid consumption of the products.