Privately owned French beverages company, Castel Malawi Group has threatened to drag the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) to court unless it stops seizing Sobo squash from shops.
Castel Malawi managing director Gille Leclerc told a news conference on Monday that the MBS is now on product damage campaign of Castel Malawi to promote products of its competitors.
“There are so many imported drinks with tertrazine (a banned chemical in Malawi ) in big shops yet they are not confiscated. Why target us only” said Leclerc.
Castel Malawi and MSB are engaged in a bitter and bruising battle over the former’s use of tertrazine, a deadly chemical used to colour drinks.
The company uses the chemical, also banned in most countries, to colour sobo peach and sobo squash.
Leclerc wondered why MSB certified that the sobo peach and Sobo squash in 2016 to go on the market when they knew that tertrazine was not allowed in Malawi.
“I consider this as unfair, we want clarification because the Malawi Bureau of Standards certify all our products before they go on the market,” he said.
But MBS director Devlin Chokazinga has hit back, saying Carlsberg Malawi, which formerly owned the company never used tertrazine.
He said Castel Malawi should have informed MBS if the company was adding or changing chemicals.
Chokazinga said the state standards compliance body has the mandate to protect consumers, hence its decision to remove all sobo squash from shop shelves.
The chairman of Malawi Law Society Alfred Majamanda said consumers can take to court Castel Malawi if they fall sick after taking the drinks with the banned chemical if they produce evidence that the illness is due to the tertrazine.
Experts say the chemical can cause asthma, tumour and cancer among other diseases.