Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Zambia's borders on food imports alert
By Mwala Kalaluka in Lusaka and Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Mon 24 June 2013, 14:01 CAT

AUTHORITIES at Katima Mulilo border post in Sesheke yesterday detained two Zambeef Products Plc trucks laden with imported beef products as they were about to enter Zambia from the Namibian port of Walvis Bay.

The authorities also intercepted 12 Capital Fisheries trucks carrying tilapia fish to allow for tests today before Zambia Revenue Authority could proceed to clear them at the border.

Sources said the two containerised trucks bearing registration numbers ALE 9634 and trailer registration ALE 9863T and ALE 2458 with trailer registration number ALE 9987T were by yesterday morning not cleared by ZRA officials following their arrival at the border post two days ago.

Zambia Institute of Environmental Health (ZIEH) Copperbelt Chapter president Kentzo Mumba also confirmed the development yesterday.

"There is the station manager for ZRA and she has helped us detain those trucks for the time being and we have agreed that they will be detained until tomorrow today when we will quickly send officers to go and record everything," Mumba said.

He said since there might not be appropriate facilities to check the consignment in Sesheke, the two trucks would have to be escorted by officers from the border post to places where such inspection facilities exist.

"Yes, these are imported products," said Mumba.

And Zambeef public relations manager Justo Kopulande confirmed yesterday that the company was aware of the interception of the two trucks.

"It is being confirmed to me right now that we are actually aware as a company," said Kopulande. "The authorities will advise accordingly. What can we do? The authorities have detained them and the authorities will advise accordingly."

Meanwhile, Sesheke district commissioner Beatrice Chaze Simasiku said she was informed by the ZRA officer in-charge at Katima Mulilo that they had detained the two trucks pending further instructions from their superiors in Livingstone.

"I have since instructed the Council Secretary to get more information over the trucks," said Simasiku.

Zambeef on Friday removed all imported beef products from its outlets countrywide following revelations that they were found to contain aromatic aldehyde.

Health minister Dr Joseph Kasonde said tests carried out by his ministry found traces of aromatic aldehyde on some tested samples of imported Zambeef beef products.

He said the government was at a stage where it was considering taking legal action against Zambeef.

Meanwhile, authorities at Katima Mulilo border had also intercepted 12 Capital Fisheries trucks carrying tilapia from Thailand.

A director at Capital Fisheries, who identified himself as Mr Thomas, said he was aware of the development but declined to give further details as he was not the spokesperson of the company.

"I know about that, I am not the spokesperson. You need to get hold of the other directors and speak to them," said Thomas.

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