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Zambians quarantine Peanut Butter with high toxic levels

LUSAKA, (Xinhua) -- Authorities in Zambia have quarantined over 11,000 containers of Lyons peanut butter from various shops in Lusaka, the country’s capital, after test results revealed high presence of aflatoxins, its standards agency said on Tuesday.

The Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) said it quarantined the peanut butter because laboratory tests received indicated the commodity failed one critical parameter known as aflatoxins.

“We are concerned about this development because we know that products that do not conform to set standards can be a danger to the health and safety of consumers, who have the right to be protected from defective and dangerous levels,” Hazel Zulu, head of marketing and public relations at the standards agency said in a statement.

She said inspectors conducted routine market surveillances and inspections last month to ascertain the safety of peanut butter in the country after concerns that the product on the market had high levels of aflatoxins.

According to the standard agency, aflatoxins levels found in peanut butter in Zambia is at 15ppb (parts per billion) against the internationally acceptable standard of 10ppb.

The standards agency has since cautioned consumers to desist from consuming the peanut butter on the market until the agency was satisfied that manufacturers have complied with the required standards.


China plays exemplary role in helping Africa: Zambian expert

LUSAKA, (Xinhua) -- A Zambian economics expert has hailed China’s exemplary role in supporting Africa through heavy infrastructure investment and trade promotion.

Dr. Mbita Chitala, lecturer of finance and international trade at Zambia Open University, told Xinhua that China has developed a good model of supporting African countries through infrastructure development, adding that this has gone a long way in helping the continent deal with some of the development constraints.

“And if this model of China support can be emulated by the other 19 members of the G20, we would go a long way in resolving world global problems, particularly those involving trade,” Chitala said.

“We would be very happy that ... we increase move trade with the G20 members to enable us to accumulate investable surpluses which will expand our productive systems and resolve the issues of poverty and underdevelopment and China is playing this on a major scale,” he added.

Chitala, who also served as a deputy minister of finance in governments of late presidents Fredrick Chiluba and Levy Mwanawasa, added that China’s influence in the global economy could not be underestimated

He said China was a role model to African countries on how it had moved from a poor country to the world’s second largest economy.

G20 members, he said, have a critical role to play in the global economy because of the magnitude of their influence, adding that China has stood out by embarking on a path to invest heavily in Africa’s infrastructure.

Africa, he added, requires assistance to move its economic agenda forward by ensuring smooth trade with G20 members without any non-tariff barriers in order to tackle the problem of poverty and underdevelopment. 


Zambia to spend 20 mln USD to procure energy saving bulbs

LUSAKA, (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government said on Tuesday that it intends to spend about 20 million U.S. dollars on the procurement of energy saving bulbs as one way to reduce the country’s electricity deficit.

Zambia has continued facing a power deficit which has seen the country’s power utility rationing power for four hours on a rotational basis.

Emeldah Chola, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Water Development, said the bulbs to be distributed to customers will save the country about 200 megawatts at a cost of 400 million dollars.

In remarks delivered at the start of a stakeholders’ meeting on energy efficiency indicators in Lusaka, the country’s capital, the official said the government has since provided a number of incentives such as tax exemptions on energy saving bulbs and renewable energy technologies to encourage consumers on efficiency use of the available electricity and to venture into alternative sources of energy.

The power utility, she said, has been distributing energy saving bulbs for free countrywide and that over 1.6 million bulbs have been distributed so far.

Zambia has been experiencing a power deficit since June last year due to low water levels in its reservoirs, a situation that resulted into a severe deficit of about 1,000 megawatts in December and eight hours of power rationing.

The government is currently implementing an efficiency quick actions and electricity indicators project being supported by the European Union (EU) under its Technical Assistance Facility, she added.


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