Rwanda FDA lifts ban on Nestlé cereal brand with non-compliant labeling

RWANDA – Rwanda’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has lifted a month-long ban on batches of Nestlé Cerelac cereal that originated in France and were alleged to be sold in the country without proper labels.

Earlier in February, FDA had demanded all boxes of Nestlé Cerelac cereal that didn’t bear the address of the manufacturer, and ingredients be removed from shelves pending an investigation.

The regulator’s list of the Cerelac products that were quarantined included Cerelac (Infant cereals with Milk) 400 g, from 12 months Honey & Wheat with milk; MAXI PACK Nestle Cerelac (Fruit Papjes Panades de fruits (from 4 months) 800 g; Nestle Cerelac (Céréale biscuitée pour panades de fruits) 300 g.

The list also mentioned MAXI PACK Nestle Cereal (Céréale biscuitée pour panades de fruits) 800 g; Nestle Cerelac (Céréale biscuitée pour panades de fruits) from 4 months, 300 g; Nestle Cerelac (Infant cereals with Milk) from 7 months Mixed Fruits & Wheat 400 g; and Nestle Cerelac (Infant cereals with Milk) 400 g Wheat with milk.

Without proper labeling, the FDA found the Cerelac instant cereals suspicious fearing that they could be counterfeit products that could pose a danger to consumers

Laboratory tests, however, proved that the products met the country’s quality standards informing the move by the FDA to allow merchants to continue selling the cereal as they have proven safe for consumers.

“Rwanda FDA has sampled the mentioned batches for laboratory quality testing. Laboratory test results revealed that those products are complying with quality standards,” said Dr. Emile Bienvenu, FDA Director General.

In addition, the authority assured that traceability investigations were done and found that the products are genuine from the Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate Nestlé.

The decision to lift the ban is welcome news for Nestlé, whose sales in the country had been impacted by the initial ban.

The company has assured customers that its products are of the highest quality and meet all regulatory requirements.

However, the FDA warned importers and retailers against selling products that didn’t meet the set label requirements which include the name of the food, list of ingredients, net content, and drained weight.

Labels are also required to have a name and physical address, country of origin, lot or batch identification number, manufacture and expiry date, instructions for use, storage instructions, and quantitative labeling of ingredients.

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