THE Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has ordered the closure of a local beverage plant, halting production of two soft drinks namely Pride and Smile for abuse of certification conditions.
The soft drinks manufactured by AONE Company which is a subsidiary of the popular Mohamed Enterprises Tanzania Ltd (MeTL) will have its juice plants remain closed until the discovered production shortcomings are addressed.
According to TBS Inspector, Mr Donald Manyama, it came to the attention of the Bureau that the company has been operating the production of the two products without certification.
He said other shortcomings are on the ingredients that are important in showing the composition of any product, with labels on the bottles showing the juices were made out of mere flavours and not natural fruits as pictured on the labels.
Mr Manyama said TBS will carry out thorough tests to obtain more information about the safety of the produced flavoured juice and whether their parameters conform to required standards.
"Until these problems are fully addressed including officially applying for TBS certification as per procedures, the plant will remain closed until further notice," said the Bureau Legal Counsel Mr Baptista Bitaho.
Earlier, the plant officers were heard as telling TBS officials that the juices were only made out of some chemicals without any other fruits as required and shown on the labels.
During the brief meeting, also attended by reporters, factory managers admitted to operate without conforming to manufacturing standards and appealed for more time to put things in order.
"Please give us at least two weeks as we work on these shortcomings otherwise many people will be affected by the closure of this plant including more than 300 staff depending on it," said Idd Kibula, the MeTL Senior Operations Officer.
It was learnt that the plant with the production capacity of 5000 cartons a day started production more than a year ago and apart from the juices it also produces drinking water.
It was not easy for TBS officers to pass the message on quality adherence and best practices the plant has to observe as its managers started complaining why an action was taken to the plant while there were over 50 types of such products circulating without TBS certification.
"We are aware that our colleagues are doing the same malpractices but no action is being taken on them. We know of about 50 types of such products freely conducting their business without being touched," complained one of the managers in vain as the stance to have the plant closed didn't change.