THE Standards Association of Zimbabwe has named seven water bottling firms that it blacklisted over failure to comply with regulatory requirements.
The firms are: Datlife, Century Ice, Chillfuff, Blestermarketing, Les Nouveau, Redlight, Liquid Asset.
SAZ quality assurance director Mr Sebastian Zuze said the seven had been suspended for failing to register with the Food Standard Advisory Board.
Mr Zuze said certification of products and services with the SAZ provided them with an international recognition and help them to open up markets internationally.
He was responding to concerns raised by water bottling firms who argued that registering with FSAB under the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare was enough in terms of the Public Health Act and Food Standards Act.
The firms complained that their products were being prejudiced for failing to bear a SAZ logo yet subjecting themselves under the body was not a legal requirement.
But Mr Zuze said seeking certification with SAZ enhanced a culture of compliance.
"FSAB provides a bare minimum requirement. It is good to subject your products to a third, independant and non-profit making organisation like SAZ to get an objective assessment," said Mr Zuze in an interview.
He said the fact that SAZ was a non-profit making body meant that it could not be manipulated by huge corporates.
"As SAZ, we are saying this is an opportunity to do things right and demonstrate in Zimbabwe and beyond, but unfortunately companies are looking at bare minimum.
"Certification is an internationally accepted norm to ensure standards. We have mechanism to ensure continued compliance and inculcate a culture of doing things right," he said.
FSAB secretary Mr Fred Chinyavanhu said while their organisation looked at hygienic and safety requirements, SAZ went beyond that, something small enterprises complained was an extra cost to them.
"SAZ conducts Hazards Analysis Critical Control Point, a further requirement in addition to the hygienic and safety requirments we make. These are steps that are taken to identify possible points of contamination within the manufacturer. Small companies have complained saying this is expensive yet it is not mandatory to get certification with SAZ," he said.
Mr Zuze appeared before a Parliamentary Committee on Health and Child Welfare on Monday calling for legislation to compel manufacturers to secure certification with SAZ to enhance protection of consumers.