Saturday August 23 2014

Fake food-wrapping paper flood market - UNBS


Did you know that the food wrapping paper you are using could be potentially dangerous to your health?

According to the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), the market is flooded with food-wrapping papers whose specifications are below the required standards.

This is further complicated by the fact that such counterfeit and sub-standard wrappers provide scanty or no details about the product, an omission that the standard prefect say is a tell-tale sign of a counterfeit and sub-standard goods.
Without such details, it is difficult to trace the origin and verify the processes, let alone the materials that were used while manufacturing the products.

“We have a duty to protect the population from the dangers and diseases, including chronic ailments (like cancer) that could emanate after consumption of food wrapped in unverified/suspicious materials,” the UNBS executive director, Mr Ben Manyindo, said recently in an interview.
He continued: “We are aware about the issue, and one of the major problems is that most of the wrapping papers are way below the length being quoted and therefore the customers are being cheated. We have asked the genuine makers of the product to raise awareness around those challenges.”

According to consumer activists, Ugandans have for a long time been forced to bear with imported wrapping papers such as aluminum foil, cling film and take away containers despite its implications both in terms of health and cost.
And for that, the manufacturer of Fresh Wraps, one of the local manufactures of the wrapping paper products, Mr Akshay Agarwal, said: “As local players we want to do business with integrity and offer value for money.”

Consumers urged
In an earlier interview, Mr Shaban Sserunkuma, a consumer activist said Ugandans have for long been given a raw deal—paying more for less. And that it is time Ugandans collectively stand up and confront such blatant fleecing.
According to Mr Agarwal, this exploitation, lack of responsibility and taking consumers for granted can be brought to a halt if consumers pay more attention while shopping for these products in the market.

What to watch for in a wrapping paper
Look out for specifications which must be well displayed on the packaging of the product. Address of the manufacturers’ details should clearly be visible.

Other precautions include looking out for UNBS mark and reporting suspicious cases to the standard body as quickly as possible.