Maputo — The Mozambican Health Ministry has ordered the removal from the market of several South African brands of tinned sardines which pose a threat to human health.
The South African authorities themselves issued a warning, saying that the tins had been badly sealed. Since the tins were no longer airtight, oxidation could set in, and the sardines could be contaminated with rust and bacteria.
The brands affected by this problem are Capepoint, Checkers and Rittebrand. Large quantities were exported to other southern African countries, including Mozambique, before the alarm was sounded.
The National Director of Public Health, Rosa Marlene, said that once it received the warning, the Health Ministry alerted the National Inspectorate of Economic Activities (INAE), which is responsible for removing the sardines from the shelves.
The INAE General Inspector, Rita Freitas, said the customs services have been instructed not to allow any more tinned sardines of these brands to enter the country.
While it may be fairly simple to remove the sardines from well organised supermarkets, controlling sales of the potentially contaminated fish in the sprawling informal markets could prove altogether more difficult.