Panic gripped the country’s retail sector yesterday, with some shops rejecting some bottled water brands deemed as contaminated.
Our sister newspaper, The Zimbabwe Independent first broke the story following laboratory tests conducted by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), which concluded that some bottled water sold on the market were contaminated and unsuitable for human consumption.
But Dairibord Zimbabwe, bottlers of the Aqualite brand, came out guns blazing against the report, stating that their water was safe for consumption and saying their distillation process was up to standard.
Theodora Marimo, an official within the amalgamated group which has interests in the processing of dairy products and other consumables and responsible for the water distillation unit, said EMA should have engaged them before releasing their report as the findings were “false”.
“Our water undergoes rigorous processing that ensures that it is free of any contaminants and is safe. Further, we carry out tests on every batch to provide extra assurance to our customers,” Marimo said.
She also said the bottled water was certified by the Standard Association of Zimbabwe, a State organ responsible for quality assurance of all products originating in Zimbabwe.
“Aqualite is certified by Standards Association of Zimbabwe, who also carry out independent verification. EMA has not engaged us as would have been expected for us to understand where the disparity in their tests is arising from,” Marimo said.
“We are available and willing to go through testing and verification with them. We retain samples of our production for verification if the need arises.”
The report, which was commissioned by government as the country battled typhoid and cholera outbreaks, confirmed the presence of harmful coliform bacteria in 26% of the sampled boreholes in both low and high-density suburbs.
Other distillers mentioned in the report were not immediately available for comment.
NewsDay Weekender is, however, reliably informed that the controversial report has caused panic within the market, with some retailers informing water bottlers to recall their products.
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