The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has urged local manufacturers to comply with the labelling standards and desist from deceptive labelling of their products.
The call comes amidst accusations leveled against Capital Shoppers Uganda for retailing pork that is labeled Halal, which is against industry standards. [Halal refers to meat prepared as prescribed by Muslim law. Muslims don’t consume pork.]
"It is regrettable that Capital Shoppers Uganda took it upon themselves to manufacture and/or acquire pork products and label them with the Islamic symbol 'Halal'," Grace Birungi, the executive director of Uganda Hala Bureau, one of the industry standards watchdogs in the country, said in a statement.
"The transgressions violate the Uganda standards, as well as Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) standards on food labelling and Halal compliance," Birungi went on.
"The rage this incidence has raised among the Muslim community underscores the insult you have inflicted on their spirituality. From now on every good Muslim will find it difficult to trust your integrity."
Capital Shoppers Managing Director Ponsiano Ngabirano issued a statement apologising to the Muslim community and the UNBS and assured them that such an incident would never re-occur.
UNBS has now tasked manufacturers to ensure that their products are labelled and certified and issued with the UNBS Distinctive Mark before they are put on the market.
“Products under mandatory standards are those that have a direct effect on the health of the user for example food, cosmetics, electronics and electro products, children’s toys and many others,” UNBS said in a statement.
“Key among the labelling requirements for pre-packaged foods is to have the name of the food declared on the label, the list of ingredients, the net contents and drained weights, the name and physical address of the manufacturer, packer, distributor, importer, exporter or vendor of the food, country of origin, Lot identification, Date marking ( production and expiry date), Storage instructions, instructions for use, Quantitative labelling of ingredients; all in the English language and/or any other official language used in the importing East African Partner state, as stated in the standard.”