UNBS seizes 700 bags of underweight sugar and bread

UNBS seizes 700 bags of underweight sugar, bread
During the inspections, it was discovered that the packaging material of the underweight sugar was tampered with, as the inner polyethylene layer was found with holes.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) recently conducted a seizure operation at a wholesale dealership in Bukedea, confiscating 700 bags of underweight sugar. This action came in response to public complaints regarding the prevalence of underweight products in the market.

The investigation revealed shocking findings last week, highlighting underweight sugar packaged in Kakira-branded bags and loaves of bread significantly lighter than the required weight standards.

According to Sylvia Kirabo, UNBS’s principal public relations manager, the underweight sugar was traced to VG Keshwala and Sons Limited in Pallisa. Additionally, the lightweight bread was sourced from Supa Loaf outlets in Mbarara city and Wakiso District, as well as Jonisa bread sold across various supermarkets.

UNBS plans nationwide crackdown on underweight bread
Packing, selling, being in possession of or holding for sale underweight pre-packaged goods, is punishable by law.

“During their inspections, UNBS officials discovered that the packaging material of the sugar had been tampered with,” Ms Kirabo said in a statement.

“The inner polyethylene layer was found to have holes, indicating deliberate attempts to mislead consumers about the actual weight of the product.”

Peter Van Greunen, the General Manager of Kakira Sugar Ltd, has refuted claims made in a viral four-minute video concerning the weight of their sugar bags. The video purported that 50-kg bags from Kakira Sugar Ltd actually weighed between 47kg and 48kg.

According to Van Greunen, although the bags in question originated from their factory, they had been tampered with. He noted that these bags, which bore serial numbers and digital tax stamps from Kakira, had defective inner polythene linings.

Van Greunen assured that their weighing scales underwent calibration in May 2024 to ensure accuracy. Joint Managing Director Mr. Kamlesh Madhvani described the incident as “regrettable.”

“We have no reputation of cheating our customers; when we see something like this, it is disturbing,” he said.

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UNBS said management and owners of the implicated businesses have presented themselves to the standards watchdog for further questioning.

“Legal action, including prosecution for the possession and distribution of underweight pre-packaged goods, is expected to follow,” Ms Kirabo said.

It is illegal to pack, sell, possess, or hold for sale underweight pre-packaged goods, as this violates both the UNBS Act and associated legislation like the Weights and Measures Act.

UNBS emphasizes the importance for manufacturers, importers, and traders of pre-packaged goods to strictly comply with these laws and standards to ensure regulatory adherence.