7 September 2007

Mozambique: Over 36,000 Bottles of Mineral Water Recalled in Maputo

Maputo — The Mozambican authorities recalled 36,300 bottles of "Agua de Namaacha" mineral water in Maputo by late Thursday, found unfit for human consumption by the Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, "Sociedade de Águas de Moçambique", the company that owns, bottles and distributes "Agua de Namaacha", claims that it is yet to be officially notified by the Maputo Health and Industry and Trade authorities of any problems related with its brand.

According to a team of reporters from the daily paper "Noticias", the Maputo Health Directorate, convened on Thursday an inter-sector meeting having decided to deploy as from next Monday a mixed team on the ground to identify those retail outlets still selling bottles of the contaminated water.

According to Armindo Barradas, head of the Maputo Industry and Trade Directorate, the number of bottles recalled by late Thursday amount to 26,412 meticais (just over 1,000 USD).

For his part, João Francisco, from Sociedade de Águas de Moçambique said during an interview to Noticias that the current operation "is something unheard of" in Mozambique, because his company has not been notified in connection with any alleged case of contaminated water.

"We don't have any official notification, neither from the Health Directorate, nor from the Industry and Trade Directorate. The information we have has been passed by our clients or by the press. We have already demanded information on what is happening, but we are still expecting for an answer", said Francisco.

Asked about these claims, Armindo Barradas said that he is in possession of a number of documents from the Health Directorate with clear instructions for the removal and destruction of that batch of contaminated mineral water.

"So far we have not destroyed any bottle because we have decided to collect all the bottles while waiting for the next stage. Furthermore, there is another problem that is starting to arise in connection with the problematic batches. We believe that perhaps it is not the whole batch that is unfit for consumption, being the reason that we have to carry out a detailed investigation", explained Barradas.

Meanwhile, the head of the Maputo Health Directorate, Antonio Paulino, could not giver further details of the work currently under way, including the identification of the contaminated batches found by a team of his institution.

Also, he is yet to explain the allegations from "Sociedade de Águas de Moçambique", claiming that are yet to be notified to launch an investigation on what could have gone wrong with the batch in question.

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