KAMPALA – The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has urged all Kombucha Manufacturers to diligently adhere to the relevant Uganda standards that govern the quality of their products if they are to stay on the market.
During a meeting with the Kombucha sector under their umbrella association, Uganda Kombucha Manufacturers (KOMAU), held on Friday 25th March 2022, at the UNBS head offices in Bweyogerere, the UNBS Deputy Executive Director in charge of Standards Ms. Patricia Bageine Ejalu, cautioned the over 90 manufacturers that turned up, against failure to control their production processes which results into high levels of alcohol in the final products, deceptive labelling and advertising. She also warned the manufacturers against making therapeutic claims on products certified as beverages.
“Anyone who wants to manufacture health drinks with therapeutic claims should seek assistance from the competent authority.”
She advised manufacturers to adhere to the labelling standard which states that if a product has one or more ingredients, the manufacturer must list them all, under the heading ‘Ingredients’ or a suitable heading which includes the word ‘ingredients’.
UNBS carried out market surveillance inspections at 65 beverage factories in Eastern, Western, Central and Northern Uganda between November 2021 and January 2022. Out of these, non-conforming Kombuchas were found at 10 facilities and 12 factories were sealed off.
The Kombucha sector was also cautioned against misuse of the UNBS quality marks at their different premises. “When a particular factory premises is audited, the certification permit only applies to products manufactured at those premises. This means that if a manufacturer has different branches, each of the branches has to be audited and bear its own certification permit,” said Mr. Charles Sseguya, a Senior Certification Officer at UNBS.
The UNBS Principal Surveillance Officer, Ms. Lindah Kobere noted that any manufacturers found in breach of the Uganda Standards will face prosecution in courts of law and their certification permit will be withdrawn.
Ms. Ejalu, further called for self-regulation among the Kombucha Sector to ensure that their final products meet the quality standards, even before UNBS comes in for enforcement.
The Kombucha sector pledged to regulate themselves to meet the quality standards and were grateful to UNBS for the eye-opening engagement.
“It is our duty and responsibility to ensure that the quality of our products is maintained at all stages of our value chain given the nature of the business we are in,” said The KOMAU President, Mr. Sam Turyatunga.