MALAWI – Castel Malawi Group, a leading producer and distributor of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in Malawi has relaunched Sobo Orange Squash drink into the market.

Castel Malawi Managing Director Horve Milhade said he is delighted that the product is finally back on the market, “I have to assume that our obsession every single day is to bring happiness to our customers.”

The relaunch follows the lift of ban of use of food additive tartrazine in production of beverages by Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) last month.

The ban on the use of the food additive was effected last year 2018 when the standard body took a note of some companies using it following raised concerns by consumers.

This led to laboratory tests conducted on the products and in turn the production companies were forced to halt operations and withdraw their products from the market as MBS conducted further investigations and research.

MBS based its first order to stop using tartrazine referencing MS 237:2008, Food Additives – General Standard in accordance to an international standard developed by the Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Codex Alimentarius Commission.

MBS embarked to research on worldwide use of additive tartrazine, more so after concerned food manufacturers, importers and distributors themselves asked the regulator to reconsider its decision, noting that tartrazine is permitted for use in beverages in some countries.

“The information gathered further indicated that tartrazine may cause allergic reactions among asthmatics and aspirin intolerant people but it does not pose a significant health hazard,” said the bureau.

Countries that permit the use of tartrazine require proper labelling of products to make consumers aware and make informed decision.

After gathering the relevant information the standard body convened a technical committee meeting on alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on 4th October 2019, where it was recommended to adopt the provision to permit the use of tartrazine in some products covered by some Malawi standards based on the limits set by the European Union Registration (94/36/EC).