MBS investigating rust on Castel Malawi products

For the past few months, one is bound to be greeted by irritating rust around bottle necks of Castel Malawi products after opening the bottle tops. The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) says investigations are underway to establish enough evidence before taking necessary action.

MBS disclosed this at Sunbird Mzuzu Hotel in Kaning’ina Room on Tuesday at the end of a two-day Media Workshop aimed at bridging the knowledge gap among media practitioners belonging to Nyika Media Club (NMC), on the operations of the bureau.

Sikwese stresses a point during his presentation

Director of Standards Development at the bureau, Fred Sikwese, was responding to a question by one journalist during plenary regarding the issue of rust on Castel Malawi products.

“We are investigating the issue because we also became aware of it through social media. Last time this problem was noticed, Castel Malawi said they had changed a supplier of their bottle tops and said they would revert to their original supplier. The problem was gone when they did. Now that the problem has resurfaced, we have noted it and we are working towards rectifying it,” explained Sikwese.

Another official from the bureau, Masozi Mwenefumbo, said the bureau had to make its own investigations because no formal complaint was made by any consumer to the bureau but assured the general public that the investigations will come to an end very soon.

Journalists attending the workshop

“Procedurally, the process would be fast if we had received a formal complaint but since we didn’t, we are working within our jurisdiction and very soon, we will be getting to the conclusion of the matter,” Mwenefumbo said.

During the workshop, Fred Sikwese took time to emphasize that the standards that the bureau regulates are Malawi standards and not standards for the bureau itself adding that the mandate to regulate the standards benefits the health, safety and welfare of the public.

He also highlighted the fact that there are several other regulators in the country concerned with other standards which people are not much aware of and thereby thinking that everything falls under the jurisdiction of the Malawi Bureau of Standards.

“For example, if there is poor disposal of refuse into Lunyangwa River, that issue is not about MBS but Mzuzu City Council. But above the council, there is Malawi Environmental Protection Agency (MEPA) which is the overall regulator for all issues to do with the environment. 

“In the same way, issues to do with medicines are regulated by Pharmacies and Medicines Regulatory Authority and not MBS. The public has often times blamed MBS on issues that are regulated by other bodies,” Sikwese explained.

Dr Stephen Chalimba, who is Deputy Director of Testing Engineering Technology at the bureau presented on testing services offered by bureau using 8 laboratories at its headquarters in Blantyre. Chalimba said the laboratories provide testing services to most organisations that do not have their own testing facilities, to clients requiring an independent analysis or opinion, and to internal programmes for verification of compliance to standards.

Director of Metrology Services, Thomas Senganimalunje, explained the metrology services provided by the bureau for the verification and calibration of weighing and measuring instruments.

“These services are offered to protect consumers from unfair trading practices through measurements. In addition, the need for accuracy in measurements being undertaken is of paramount importance in assuring and maintaining quality,” stressed Senganimalunje.

Speaking after the end of the workshop, President of Nyika Media Club, Joseph Mwale, said the workshop was an eye opener.

“We are going back to our working stations equipped with knowledge on the operations of Malawi Bureau of Standards. We are different today from what we were before this workshop.

“I wish to thank MBS for accepting to come and share with us this vital information and it is my hope that journalists that have undergone this workshop will take it upon themselves to enlighten the general public on the operations of the bureau,” remarked Mwale.

The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) was established in 1972 by the Act of Parliament. The Act was revised in 2012.

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