THE Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) says it is currently investigating 11 bottled water companies following allegations of bacterial contamination in their water, this publication can reveal.
By Michael Gwarisa
Responding to HealthTimes on the side-lines of the ongoing Medical and Health Expo in the capital, SAZ Director Quality Assurance Mr Sebastian Zuze said they were on top of things as investigations on are underway to ascertain the credibility of the allegations and should the companies be found guilty, they risk losing their SAZ certification.
“So when we talk of standards, we are not talking about SAZ standards, no. We are talking about Zimbabwean standards. The standards are Zimbabwean standards, so if you look at the standards development process we actually sit down with stakeholders, we don’t just create our own standards.
“So speaking to the story which came out in the papers, we as the SAZ team have dispatched an audit team, once the audit is completed and the results show that the company has violated a standard, that certificate does not belong to the company, if it violates the standard, the certificate is withdrawn,” said Zuze.
He added that standards like any other law were prone to be broken but as SAZ they can only go as far as withdrawing the SAZ certification.
“Zimbabwe has standards, whether one has the attitude to follow that is something else, that’s why even when driving they are people who choose to ignore the traffic lights.
“The certificate is valid for three years and during the tree years, every three months we come to check whether the company is still following the standards. However, we would expect that we are through in gathering in everything and the argument has to be evidence based there will be a case.
“If there is evidence even from our point we actually suspend the certificate and publish in the press and remove them from our website. SAZ is mandated internationally to actually do that so having seeing that story we have gone a step further to verify for ourselves and once we have tangible evidence to that effect then we take the necessary action.”
Meanwhile, panic has gripped the country’s retail sector with some shops rejecting some bottled water brands deemed as contaminated.