The government has defended the delays in recalling South African-produced Purity Essentials Baby Powder products saying they were carrying out tests to certify if reports of unacceptable levels of asbestos in the product were true.
On the 7th of September, the National Consumer Commission (South Africa) urged the public to immediately discontinue use of Purity Essentials baby powder but it took a month for the government of Zimbabwe to follow suit.
In an interview with 263Chat, the Public Relations Manager in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Donald Mujiri said the reason why they responded late to the issue was that they were conducting tests so as to act with evidence on hand.
“There are formal procedures that are done before recalling a product. In this case, we were conducting tests to see if surely they contain a harmful asbestos element before taking the product off the shelves,” he said.
However, Mujiri refused to comment if any children have been exposed so far.
Ministry of Health and Child Care Air Commodore Jasper Chimedza recently issued a statement recalling the products, highlighting that they contain unacceptable levels of asbestos which causes rare cancer called mesothelioma.
“Given that a significant number of products in our supermarkets are sourced from South Africa, there is a possibility that some batches of the baby powder in question are already in Zimbabwe. These products should be removed from the shelves or intercepted at points of entry. Let’s inform the public of this harmful product to stop further distribution of the product within the country due to its negative health effects,” he said.
Products forming part of the recall include the 100g, 200g, and 400g pack sizes of Purity Essentials Baby Powder.