ZAMBIA – The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission working with the Zambia Compulsory Standards Agency, the Ministry of Health, Public Health Departments of Local Councils and other stakeholders has instituted a countrywide exercise which is aimed at removing pilchard products on the Zambia market.

The move follows the warning from the COMESA Competition Commission pursuant to Article 30 (1) (b) of the COMESA Competition Regulations to the CCPC warning the general public against consuming canned pilchards in tomato and chili sauce products from South Africa that are alleged to be unfit for human consumption.

This concern comes after the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) in South Africa ordered a national recall of all 400 grams pilchard products which were found to have been compromised during the sauce filling process and could thereby affect consumers.

Some of the affected brands which the investigation identified include Deep Catch, Mamas, Ok Housebrand, Prime Ocean, Spar, Sunny, Shoprite Ritebrand, Cape Point, Checkers Housebrand, u brand, Saldanha and West Point all manufactured by West Point Processors in Cape Town, South Africa.

CCPC Public Relations Officer Rainford Mutabi says in view of the foregoing, members of the public should exercise caution by ensuring that they look out for the affected pilchard products and avoid consumption for the good of their health and safety.

Mr. Mutabi said the launched exercise is aimed at ensuring that all such products with the affected batch numbers that may have penetrated the Zambian market are removed from the shelves.

He has directed all wholesalers, supermarkets, distributors, retailers, importers and traders to remove and surrender to the nearest Public Health office of every Council all affected Pilchard products which have can top bearing markings starting with ZST29 and ZSC29 respectively.

However, Lucky Star the canned fish brand of pilchards says its products are safe for human consumption as they have not been affected by the recall.

“The Lucky Star brand of pilchards and all Lucky Star products are in no way linked to the recall of pilchard products and are safe to eat,” said the company.

Other countries that have withdrawn sale of the canned goods include Mozambique.