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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Malawi Bureau of Standards must act now

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Legislation of any kind is designed to protect people in society and the establishment of Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) in Malawi was aimed at protecting Malawians from hazardous materials.

It is calming to know that one of the mandates of MBS is to benefit the health, safety and welfare of the public. Whether the public is indeed protected is debatable but the issue that concerns us all right now is how untested substances found their way to the market.

In this publication, we have carried a story that MBS has warned the public not to consume Black Punch Cane Spirits which have not been tested by the bureau.

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It is a welcome development to hear that MBS continues to monitor the market and it is doing a lot to flush out hazardous products. It is good news that the bureau has managed to intercept a truckload of spirits but that is not enough.

Our worry is that warnings, after such interceptions, are not new and we believe a lot should be done to stop this malpractice.

Early this year, the High Court in Blantyre ruled in favour of MBS regarding packaging of spirits. As usual, the public was warned and shop owners and vendors were told that anyone who would not comply with the ban would be penalised for producing or selling non-conforming liquor.

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For MBS to issue a similar warning now is a clear indication that there are gaps in the system and the only thing MBS manages to do is to warn the public.

In a society where corruption is deep-rooted, we are not surprised that some individuals and companies continue producing or selling such products knowing very well that no-one can touch them.

We urge MBS to do more and fulfill its mandate of protecting the public. Issuing of warnings would do little to stop the malpractice. What we want to see is MBS act now because there is evidence that the situation is worsening.

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