Shamiso Dzingire, Business Reporter
SCHWEPPES Zimbabwe Limited has assured its customers that its Mazoe concentrated drinks are safe for human consumption and do not contain any ingredients that may be harmful to health.
This comes after media reports from neighbouring Zambia revealed that health authorities were investigating Mazoe concentrated juice on allegations that it was not fit for human consumption and does not meet the national food and safety standards.
According to media reports in the neighbouring country, there are also fears in that country that counterfeit Mazoe products produced by a now out of production Zambian company, have hit the market and are not fit for consumption.
Schweppes Zimbabwe marketing and public affairs director Mrs Unaiswi Nleya-Nyikadzino yesterday said she is aware of the Zambian probe, but is not sure what triggered the investigation.
In a statement, Mrs Nleya-Nyikadzino said: “Mazoe is produced with only specifically approved ingredients that meet all the local regulatory requirements and adheres to the strictest safety, quality requirements.
“Additionally, Mazoe has obtained the relevant approvals as provided for by the laws of the Republic of Zambia. We therefore have full faith and confidence in the safety and quality of Mazoe and we will continue to work collaboratively with the authorities where required”.
Last month, Schweppes Zimbabwe faced consumer backlash following reports it added three artificial sweeteners to the Mazoe concentrated drinks which are feared to cause cancer and brain cell damage among other diseases, if consumed in large quantities.
The sweeteners, which according to health practitioners have the same kind of health consequences as sugar that causes diabetes, obesity and tooth decay, are aspartame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K or acesulfame K) and sodium cyclamate.
Weeks later, the beverage manufacturer gave in to consumer pressure and announced the reintroduction of original recipes for all their flavours. The beverage manufacturer began exporting Mazoe Orange Crush to Zambia in early March. The company also exports the product to neighbouring Botswana and Namibia. — @ShamisoDzingire