Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has closed up to 167 sachet-filling machines belonging to at least 37 alcohol-manufacturing companies, as part of the enforcement of the government ban on alcohol sold in sachets.
The operation was conducted in Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, Jinja and Mitiyana. UNBS staff also seized and confined packaging materials used in production of sachets.
The Minster of Trade Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde issued a directive banning the sale of alcohol in sachets effective 1st June 2019 and instituted a multi-agency task force including UNBS, Ministry of Health, Uganda Police, National Environment Management Authority to enforce the ban.
The ban was instituted as a consumer protection measure to guard against excessive alcohol consumption especially among the youth. Before the ban, alcohol sold in sachets was readily available and affordable to the majority of the youth.
UNBS Executive Director, Dr. Ben Manyindo, says enforcement of this ban will carry on despite challenges.
“We are aware that by time we sealed off the machines some of the alcohol in sachets had already found its way on the market,” he said.
“Our market surveillance team will soon carry out raids on wholesale and retail outlets that could still be selling sachets. We are committed to enforcing standards to protect the health and safety of consumers.”
He urged consumers to report cases of alcohol sold in sachets on the UNBS toll free line 0800 133 133.
How to identify quality alcohol:
UNBS advises that good quality alcohol must be clear and must not become cloudy on being diluted with water;
It should be free from sediments or suspended matter of any type even at sub-zero temperature;
It should have the characteristic taste associated with the gin;
The packaging should be the name, physical location and address of manufacturer/importer/bottler, alcohol content in percent by volume, batch number or identification code, country of origin; and any statutory warnings.