Bureau of standards warns local banana beer producers
Processors and dealers operate with no conformity to standard requirements.
Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) is inspecting locally produced banana beer producers as police complains that the product contains some toxic chemicals.
Salamack bricks or Ammonium Chloride (NH4Cl)) is one of the identified chemicals that has been added as a food additive in banana beer processing. RBS says that if used in large amounts it might pose to be a danger to human health.
Police complained that the beer had high alcoholic content and this intoxicated consumers even consumed in small quantities.
When samples were taken they had 0 percent volume of Slamack bricks meaning the beer had other toxic products.
Normally banana beer should have between 3 -8 percent volume.
According to Bajeneza Jean Pierre, Head of Market Surveillance in RBS, the inspection started last year in June where the team visited producers in Rwamagana district in Eastern region.
With the help of the National Police, the Ministry of Local Government has warned that disciplinary measures shall be applied to whoever sells the product if it is not in conformity with RBS requirements.
“Because it’s a traditional beer, even having its standards was difficult and the same is with implementation. This is because someone can not easily embrace the change like packaging and labelling requirements,” said Bajeneza.
”The reason why producers are hesitant to change is that price is likely to increase hence reducing number of consumers,” he added.
Banana beer commonly known as ‘Urwagwa’ is the traditional beer which should have at least 90 percent bananas as the most significant ingredient.
However the product is said to be substandard and not hygienic.