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24.03.2004 Business & Finance

FDB's order to withdraw products from the market unjustified

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Kumasi, March 24, GNA- Century Investment Limited, producers of century sachet water, had challenged the order by the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) for the withdrawal of its products from the market. The company said "it is unjustified, reckless and in bad faith" as it was not based on any product tests.

Mr Patrick Adu-Gyamfi, Director of the company, said, "I am constrained to believe that this is a design to cripple my business and punish me for being outspoken about the rot and underhand dealings of officials of the board".

Mr Adu-Gyamfi, who is the chairman of the Association of processed Drinking Water Producers, was re-acting to the FDB order at the weekend in Kumasi.

He said his company has since 1999, been operating under the Ghana Standards Board certification and that there could not be any question about the safety and quality of its products.

"To say that century sachet water was unsafe for the simple reason that the company was not registered with the FDB is therefore, unfortunate and unfair".

The Director said, the company, conscious of the need for quality standards ensures that samples of its products are regularly taken through physical-chemical and microbial analysis at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) laboratory.

He showed to the GNA the last report on sample test issued by Mr Edward Amanor, the laboratory manager, on February 10, 2004, which said the product "meets quality standards and in conformity with World Health Organisation (WHO) standards for drinking water".

Touching on the non-registration with the FDB, Mr Adu-Gyamfi said this could not be wholly true, pointing out that following the decision that mineral and sachet water be put under the supervision of the FDB, his company bought registration forms and submitted them to the board's Kumasi office after paying 500,000 cedis in August, last year. The payment, he said, was effected per ECOBANK cheque, which was cleared on August 21.

He said when he made a follow up to the office to get them to inspect his factory, he was told the forms had been misplaced and wondered why he should pay the price for another person's carelessness. He said if even the board carried out sample tests that showed that the company's products did not meet quality standards, it was only reasonable and fair that the company was officially notified and given a copy of the test results.

Mr Adu-Gyamfi recounted how the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, could not help praising the company for its clean environment and quality assurance during a recent tour of its factory. He said it was therefore amazing that the FDB could raise concerns about its operating environment when none of its officials had ever set foot there.

The FDB, last week, caused an announcement to be made in the media that Century Investment Limited had been ordered by the board to withdraw its products from the market on grounds that it was not registered with the board and that the environment under which it was operating was not good.