Oh here we go again; Zambian companies just refuse to stay clear of scandal. After the Zambeef revelations of last week where we found out that some of the imported products contained embalming corpse chemicals, the company had a lot of explaining to do. This whole saga almost feels like hearing your girlfriend confess that she has been cheating on you with the neighbour only after you caught them in bed. Yes Zambeef have a lot of explanation to do to Zambia and I am waiting.
At the moment I refuse to be thrown into drawing early conclusions as some people have done. If there is anything that I have come to understand especially about the urban Zambian is that we are so hungry for scandals. We love scandals and we seem to enjoy squeezing out every juicy bit that there is of any rumour that is thrown our way. We devour everything that the media websites throw at us and we do not bother to critically analyse the information before us. It was not long ago that we were almost lynching Clive Chirwa only for the poor man to be found with no case or the Zambia Sugar issue. I bet Zambia Sugar is breathing a sigh of relief the attention has been removed from them for now.
So far from what I have gathered, the embalming chemical used is called Aromatic Aldehydes. It has a number of functions in pharmaceutical and plastics industries, for flavouring and as an ingredient in some dyes. Another use is that for embalming corpses, and this is where Zambeef are being taken to task. Zambeef are believed to be using the aromatic aldehydes on their import products; these by the way are hooves and offals popularly known as vimbombo and chiff. This meat is apparently thrown away in Europe and America, hence, Zambeef are able to get these products nearly free. Reports are that in order for this meat to be kept fresh the embalming chemical is used. Oh how I love my occasional vimbombo, what’s a brotha supposed to do now. Are goat hooves edible? The argument may also be that if these products are rejected what assurance is there that the highest hygiene is taken when preparing them for import.
Zambeef have blamed this whole affair on a disgruntled employee who ratted them out, as well as the percentage of the imported meat is small to be too concerned about. Is the small percentage supposed to be comforting? The underlying thing here is that there is something in the imported meat that we were not made aware of as consumers. Frankly, that is where I feel the betrayal as a Zambeef faithful is coming from. If I was made aware that aromatic aldehydes were added to the liver that I bought or the vimbombo that I gluttonously devoured, I might have just reconsidered my purchase. The mere fact that the packaging does not indicate this is a flaw on the part of Zambeef. As to the side effects on the chemical used, the fact that it may cause cancer is not conclusive enough evidence for me. I need someone to show me some research done and not just assumptions. Cancer can be caused in many ways; the very air we breathe can give us cancer. The health authorities need to provide more concrete evidence on the ultimate outcome of aromatic aldehydes. This should not be about scaring people from buying Zambeef products
For now, Zambeef have a tough time convincing the bunch of protestors on Facebook, Twitter and the Letters to the Editor in the papers. I wonder why we never carry placards and go scream in front of Zambeef stores. The only time people are passionate protestors is when it comes to salary increments, it’s a shame. Until the health authorities come back with conclusive results of their tests, I will not be boycotting Zambeef products entirely. I will just be taking a critical look at the next vimbombo that I devour. I would propose Zambeef start labeling their products either as imported or local. This is a good time to buy Zambeef shares by the way.