Zambeef has moved to address market concerns over imported beef products, reiterating its commitment to providing high-quality and safe food to its customers.
Zambeef Chief Executive Officer Francis Grogan said the board of directors at Zambeef takes food safety issues extremely seriously and Zambeef will never knowingly offer for sale any products which could be hazardous to the health of its customers.
Mr. Grogan.said the move follows the recent report of tests commissioned by Health Minister Joseph Kasonde, stating that the results indicated the presence of formaldehyde in samples of Zambeef’s imported beef products.
He disclosed that consequently, the company will be undertaking a comprehensive review of internal food transport, handling and storage procedures as well as conducting extensive investigations from the importing countries.
The Zambeef CEO stated that the company will continue to co-operate with government and relevant authorities to identify the level and potential source of any contamination.
Mr. Grogan reiterated that the company has made clear to consumers through the local media sources, that Zambeef only imports meat products from internationally recognized meat companies.
“Zambeef only imported meat products from internationally recognized meat companies in countries with globally recognized, traceability protocols in place, normally the United kingdom, Republic of Ireland or the United States of America”, Mr Grogan said.
Mr. Grogan further assured the nation that Zambeef imported beef products are accompanied by certification from all the required regulatory authorities from the countries of origin as applicable.
He disclosed that the embargo on imported beef products remains in place until further notice.
“We are committed to ensuring all products sold by Zambeef are of the highest quality and safe for our consumers, which is why we will continue to suspend the sale of imported beef products until the Ministry of Health and Zambeef have fully resolved the matter” said Mr Grogan.
He further acknowledged that the negative publicity created by this matter could impact other product lines and, in doing so, Zambeef’s profitability for the current financial year.
Mr. Grogan added that the sale of imported beef products accounted for approximately 4 percent of the company’s annual turnover in 2012.
He however said the effects are difficult to quantify in the short term but that the board will provide a further update in its pre-close statement in late September.
Earlier this week Health Minister Joseph Kasonde announced that results obtained from South Africa indicated the presence of aromatic aldehyde in samples of Zambeef’s imported beef products.
Formaldehyde is a chemical used to embalm human bodies.
Government in conjunction with Zambeef was working on establishing the point of contamination.
This was contained in a statement to ZANIS by Langmead and Baker limited, Managing Director Gillian Langmead.