The Mozambican company Yaafico Indstrial, which makes the Frozy brand of soft drinks, has rejected claims by the Malawian Bureau of Standards (MBS) that the drinks do not meet the standards laid down by the Malawian authorities.
The MBS banned the import of Frozy drinks because they contain high levels of citric acid and of the food preservative sodium benzoate.
Cited in Monday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, Yaafico Industrial said the drinks are certified by, and frequently analysed by, the National Food and Water Hygiene Laboratory (LNHAA) of the Mozambican Health Ministry.
The company claimed that in the last analysis, in August, and in all previous ones, the levels of acidity detected were in conformity with the standards demanded by the LNHAA, and throughout the southern African region.
The company could show documents indicating that it has a certificate of quality issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and collaborates regularly with the National Inspectorate of Economic Activities (INAE).
Yaafico protested that it had never been asked by the Malawian authorities about the quality of its products. It accused the MBS of bad faith, since it should have notified the Mozambican authorities about the matter, under the trade protocol of SADC (Southern African Development Community).
Yaafico says Frozy drinks are popular among Malawian consumers. It intends to appeal against the MBS decision, in order to “restore the truth” about its products.
The Yaafico statement does not give any figures. But the MBS said it inspected samples of Frozy and found that the level of citric acid in the drinks ranged from 2,240 to 5,376 mg/kg compared with a permitted maximum of 3,000 mg/kg.
As for sodium benzoate, the permitted maximum in Malawi is 1,000 mg/kg, but the Frozy drinks were found to be hugely in excess of this, with levels of between 3,248 and 4,256 mg/kg.