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The Dragon Is Back - Zimbabwe Lifts Energy Drink Ban

Dragon energy drink is back on the market after Government lifted the ban and ordered the company selling and distributing the drink to correct labels and regularise import procedures by end of January next year.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care had banned the energy drink in September saying it violated import procedures and did not meet the required health standards of beverages in the country.

In a letter to New Rock Beverages' (NRB) lawyers, secretary for Health and Child Care Brigadier-General (Dr) Gerald Gwinji advised them that the ministry had accepted the company's request for waiver to sell the energy drink with non-complying labels while regularising the import procedures.
The Dragon Is Back - Zimbabwe Lifts Energy Drink Ban
The waiver is valid until January 31 2016. After that period the product should comply fully with national food regulations requirements.

"We wish to inform you that the waiver is hereby granted," read the letter dated November 2 2015, which sets out the conditions of the waiver.

Dr Gwinji said the NRB should also ensure that labels on the packaging of the product were corrected within the given timeframe.

"You should immediately make arrangements for inspection of the factory from which the product is manufactured," said Dr Gwinji.

"Inspectors will take independent samples at the factory for further analysis."

The lifting of the ban comes after NRB, which sells and distributes the drink in the country, had approached the High Court challenging the ban.

After being served with the application the ministry held a meeting with the company's representatives where it was agreed that the ban should be lifted subject to the urgent application being withdrawn.

NRB lawyer Advocate Webster Chinamhora instructed by Muvirimi Law Chambers welcomed the ministry's decision.

"We are happy that our client's position that there was nothing dangerous to health about the energy drink was vindicated," said Adv Chinamhora.

"We are also happy that the ministry of Health and Child Care has agreed to visit our client's factory to take samples for further analysis. Our client has nothing to fear hence his invitation to the ministry's officials. Our client will fully cooperate with the ministry in the scope of their mandate in this matter."

Dr Gwinji announced the ban in letters to all provincial medical directors in the country, dated September 28.

Environmental health officers were dispatched and instructed to remove all Dragon Energy Drinks found in any retail shops.

The artificial flavourings contained in the drink were not declared by name on the list of ingredients.

The label bears the claims ''THE POWER IS YOURS'' and specifically designed to maximise ''mental and physical performance'' which allegedly cannot be substantiated.

The letter further notes that the energy drink violates regulation 181 of 1977 Section 4 (7) in that the vitamins (niacin, B5, B6 and B12) on the list of ingredients imply that fortification ingredients were added without written permission from the Secretary for Health and Child Care.

Furthermore, the Health Ministry said proper import procedures were not followed before the energy drink was imported into the country.

Source: The Herald
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