Mozambique firm found to have supplied rotten food to migrant miners

MAPUTO, 21 June 2017: 

Mozambique’s National Inspectorate of Economic Activities (INAE) has shut down a Maputo warehouse belonging to the company Kawena and seized all the foodstuffs it contained for analysis by the health authorities.

Kawena specialises in providing goods to families of Mozambican migrants working on South African mines but an INAE inspection showed that much of the food Kawena supplies is rotten.

INAE general inspector Rita Freitas told a media conference here on Monday what inspectors found at the warehouse was “simply dramatic”.

INAE descended on the Kawena warehouse after receiving repeated complaints from miners’ families the goods they received from Kawena – paid for by the miners – were inedible.

The inspectors found the warehouse was full of deteriorated produce and to make matters worse, Kawena tried to recycle the goods – discarding the most obviously rotten parts – and repackaging the rest. They even called the section where goods were repackaged a “hospital”.

“What we saw was sad,” said Freitas. “When insects are found – resulting from the poor conservation or the deterioration of the food, notably maize and wheat flour, groundnuts and pasta – these foodstuffs are just recycled, repackaged and handed over for consumption.”

These goods, recycled to disguise the insect infestations, were then sent from the warehouse to Kawena’s seven shops – where they were delivered to the miners’ families.

Kawena also tried to kill off the pests by directly spraying chemicals onto the food. She said the company had used toxic products which INAE had not yet been able to identify.

She promised that, after thorough analyses of the goods seized, INAE will hand the matter over to the Attorney-General’s Office for criminal proceedings – since there was clear evidence Kawena had committed crimes against public health.

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