Two renowned Malawian health experts-cum-researchers have faulted the Malawi Bureau Standards (MBS) for allowing Press Cane Limited (PCL) to sell its rectified spirit to the public which, they say, is substandard.
The two – Dr Charles Dzamalala and Dr. YB Mlombe – operating under the banner of Health and Civic Research Initiative Ltd have written MBS’ Director of Testing Services, Stephen Kuyeli, questioning why the Bureau why PCL was allowed to sell its spirit.
While Dzamalala is a renowned pathologist and researcher, Dr Mlombe is too, apart from owning the Dr. YB Mlombe Private Clinic in the capital Lilongwe.
Nyasa Times has learnt that as per standard of Malawi MS573:2007(ICS.080.60) (Ethanol specification), stipulates that the maximum level of methanol in rectified spirit should be 50 parts per million (ppm).
But the two say that after the samples were sent to a South African laboratory, it was discovered that Press Cane Limited rectified spirit has got 140 ppm of methanol.
In their letter to MBS, signed by Mlombe as the research initiative’s board chairperson and Dzamalala as board secretary, and issued on September 22, 2021 titled “Test Results Reports for Rectified Alcohol” which Nyasa Times has seen is seen to have been duly acknowledged by MBS with the Bureau’s stamp.
The letter questions Kuyeli who released a report indexed PEST /120/AX/06 which showed that the sample he carried on rectified spirit from PCL showed no trace of methanol, Acetone, Propanol or pentanol.
However, after some research it showed that the rectified spirit used in Malawi from PCL is “dangerous” and “impure” as it can cause leukemia skin cancer and make people blind.
“We wrote to request follow up on the PEST /20/AX/06 report as provided by MBS as custodian of Standards in the country. It is desirable that MBS procedures carry the trust of all of us and are accurate,” reads the letter.
The letter, therefore, proposes a committee of experts drawn from MBS, Chancellor College Chemistry Department, Press Cane Limited, Ethanol Limited, and Hacri Limited to conduct further tests.
“The Committee shall then witness the testing process of the same sample at Presscane in order to come to an understanding of the local testing methods and processes available in Malawi and identify any issues that might stand in the way of an accurate determination of impurities in alcohols that are accessible for human consumption in the country.
“It is in the interest of public health to ensure that dangerous impurities such as methanol are not supplied to be in contact by humans,” adds the letter.
According to the letter, Presscane is grossly faulted for using the rectified spirit for hand sanitizer and methylated spirit thereby putting the lives of the population at risk just for profits.
“The results from MBS which showed no impurities for rectified spirits are also concerning as to whether they were genuine results or they were unreliable results from an incompetent or from a corrupt laboratory,” the letter reads.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :