Although UNBS says they issued an official communication to all supermarkets, some supermarkets, especially downtown Kampala and in Wakiso still have the peanut on their shelves. They claim that no one has communicated to them.
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has issued an alert over seven deadly peanut butter products on the market.
The peanut butter suspended include Nuteez (Jetlak Foods Limited), Zesta (Trufoods Limited), Nutty by Nature, (Target Distributors), True Nuts, (Truenutz Kenya), Supa Meal (Supacosm Products Limited), Sue's Naturals (Nature's Way Health) and Fressy (Fressy Food Company Limited).
The peanut is from Kenya and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) carried out laboratory tests and found high levels of aflatoxin contamination. Ideally, aflatoxins are poisonous carcinogens that are produced by molds that grow in soil, decaying vegetation and grain.
The toxins are usually found in improperly stored staple commodities and grains such as sorghum, which is consumed as food and in beer production, maize and groundnuts which are major staple foods in the region and in cassava, chili peppers, cotton seed, millet, rice, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, wheat and a variety of spices.
"Importers, distributors, and retailers are informed to cease the sale and distribution of the aforementioned products and ensure that they are not displayed in retail outlets until further notice," Godwin Muhwezi, the UNBS spokesperson, said.
All UNBS import inspectors at border points have been notified to seize consignments of the listed brands. Meanwhile, although UNBS claims that they issued an official communication to all supermarkets owners and their associations, some supermarkets especially downtown Kampala and in Wakiso still have the peanut on their shelves. They claim that no one has communicated to them.
"UNBS would like to advise consumers to avoid buying the products. We would like to urge the public to remain vigilant and report the presence of such products on the market. All supermarkets are aware of the suspension so anyone found selling will be punished," Muhwezi explained.
"These substandard products are so widespread; one wonders what UNBS is always doing. It has become difficult for some of us to make money because of the stiff competition from fake products," Precious Ainebyona, a trader in Kikuubo, Kampala said. "Right now, a person stands an 80% chance of walking home with a counterfeit product every time they buy something in a supermarket.
Even when UNBS and the Police arrest someone selling counterfeits, the next day you will find the same person selling the same things at the same spot. The law is not helping us," Joshua Kisalita, another trader, said.
Although the fake products are thriving, the standards body continues to complain that it is not allocated enough funds to put out the fake products on the market.