16 January 2013

Tanzania: Weight Agency Queries Spirits' Package

THE Weights and Measures Agency (WMA) has discovered some spirit drinks sold in the local markets with misleading volume labels.

The said spirits have the volume of 200ml but have mistakenly been labelled as containing 205ml which is incorrect.

According to WMA, the lists of spirit in question includes Gilbay's Gin (Special Dry), Popov Vodka, Chelsea London, Dry Gin and Bond 7 (Extra Smooth) Whiskey, Smirnoff Vodka and Richot Brand.

The WMA Acting Technical Director, Mr Jared Moshi, said that the presence of incorrect label in such bottles was discovered in December, last year, following surprise inspection conducted in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Moshi.

However, Mr Moshi was quick to clear fear that might have been created by advertisements posted on the media over the spirit, saying that they all meet standard but only lacked correct volume label. He said after discovering the shortcoming, the agency between January 9 and 11, this year, wrote letters to distributors and agents of the respective brands to stop distribution and sales of such drinks.

"We wrote directing distributors, agents and retailers to instantly stop selling the drinks until the bottles are re-labelled, failure to adhere to such notice would only mean placing business into jeopardy," he explained. Mr Moshi said that after corrective measures all distributors and agents were supposed to submit a copy to WMA that would convince the agency over relabelling before taking up again the business.

He said that the presence of incorrect label in the spirit bottles forced consumers to unnecessarily pay more as instead of paying for 200ml they pay for 205ml. Though he could not reveal the exact prices that consumers were charged because the price depended on the place and status, Mr Moshi remained confident that end users were paying for more while they get less.

"When selling a 205ml labelled bottle of alcohol to a consumer while reality on the ground is that the bottle contains 200ml only indicates dishonesty," he added. WMA Managing Director, Ms Magdalena Chuwa, told the 'Daily News' that after revealing prevalence of the wrongly labelled spirits in the local market, the agency alerted the public through media advertisement.

"Besides alerting the public we have also directed the concerned authorities to withhold sales until the matter is checked," Ms Chuwa noted.

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