TBS warns against excessive beverage consumption

Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has highlighted the prevalence of unmeasured usage in beverages as a major cause of health hazards for consumers, leading to complaints about the quality of the drinks.

In recent years, there has been an influx of strong beverages on the market, many of which are alcoholic and claim to boost energy levels.

Following the onset of adverse effects, much blame has been directed at quality regulators for allowing them onto the market despite their harmful effects.

But, speaking at a meeting with editors and journalists in Dar es Salaam on April 15, 2024, the director of quality control at TBS, Mr Lazaro Msasalaga, stated that people drink without considering measurements, while others consume strong drinks without eating food.

“We have some cases of counterfeit products on the market, but many people are unaware of how much alcohol or energy drink they should consume,” he said.

“We are aware of the fake liquor production in some parts of the country, and we are doing everything to curb the situation.”

He emphasised that people should not rush to label products as fake or inferior, especially on social media, without following the prescribed usage instructions.

Some, he said, compete to finish a whole bottle of strong liquor or energy drinks at once without adhering to instructions.

This comes after a study published last year (2023) titled “Acute Myocardial Infarction Following the Consumption of Energy Drink in a 28-Year-Old Male: A Case Report” revealed alarming findings.

Conducted by researchers from the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) in Dar es Salaam, the study reported the case of a 28-year-old man who experienced chest pain after consuming five cans (1250 cc) of an energy drink. The government pledged to investigate the health risks associated with energy drink consumption following this study, particularly the risk of heart attacks.

Meanwhile, during the TBS event, Mr Msasalaga urged citizens to follow the instructions provided on beverages to avoid health hazards and encouraged them to report any challenges to TBS for prompt action.

“People consume more than the recommended amount, and some drink without eating, thus using them differently from the intended purposes set by manufacturers,” he said.

“We continue to monitor the market to ensure that all products are safe for human use. We have been destroying many products with substandard or counterfeit standards,” he said, adding that in 2023, they destroyed food and cosmetic products worth Sh6 billion.

The Director-General of TBS, Dr Athuman Ngenya, explained how they have been combating the entry of substandard products into the local market.

“Our job is to ensure the safety of all products used by Tanzanians, whether they are manufactured locally or imported,” said Dr Ngenya.

Emphasising security enhancement, Dr Ngenya explained their system and procedure for controlling the quality of imported products, starting from their manufacturing sites abroad to inspection upon arrival in the country.

“We conduct regular inspections in markets, factories, and at border points to ensure that products meet the relevant standards,” he said.

According to Dr Ngenya, in the past three years, they inspected 100,851 shipments before entering the country, which is 99 percent of the target of inspecting 102,083 shipments.

Additionally, a total of 151,570 products from abroad were inspected upon arrival in the country, representing 77 percent of the target of inspecting 197,417 products.

To work efficiently, they collaborate with other government institutions such as the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), the Fair Competition Commission (FCC), the President’s Office-Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG), the Police, and other security agencies to conduct inspections.