By Prisca Wanyenya
Parliament’s Committee of Trade and Tourism has sampled and summoned a list of ten energy drink manufacturers over false claims in their adverts after some MPs claimed the drinks have caused harm to their voters.
The summons were on Monday 8 November, issued by Mwine Mpaka (Mbarara South City) who also doubles as Chairperson Trade and Tourism Committee. He said parliament has received a number of false claims made in adverts of these energy drinks and the summons between the manufacturers, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) on what are the requirements in these adverts.
He said: “There are energy drinks coming up that don’t have consumer protection. We asked UNBS to provide us with a list so that at a later time, they appear with the National Drug Authority. We have so many things that are promising unbelievable things. Does UNBS actually control and protect our consumers, does the content? Does the content on the packing warrant it?”
Patricia Bageine Ejalu, Deputy Executive Director Standards at UNBS said that the standards set up by UNBS don’t allow companies to make a claim unless you can prove it.
When asked if the manufacturers are allowed to put their drinks on market pending certification by UNBS, the Bureau answered in affirmative saying that all the manufacturers are to follow some guidelines as their samples await verification.
Mwine described this process as dangerous wondering what would happen if the investigations recommend ban of the product yet it had been put on the market.
Harriet Businge (DWR Hoima) blamed UNBS for some of the deaths that have occurred after consumers drank the energy drinks on market.
“If it is UNBS which we trust, that can identify what the Ugandans are consuming and what is evident that UNBS isn’t in charge at all. We buried a big gentleman in Hoima, he swallowed the energy drinks and died. Those things are certified by UNBS,” said Businge.
The Committee agreed to summon some companies including; Mukama Nayamba, Rock Boom, Power Bank, Bebe Wine, Akaboozi, Kituuzi, Kabode, Kabiriti.
Mwine asked the companies to come with their samples and adverts, but Cecilia Ogwal (DWR Dokolo) asked the MPs not to consume the samples tabled before the Committee when the meeting occurs.