Mar 07 Juillet 2020 - 00:00:00

CHARLES BOOTO A NGON : « ANOR : Preparation for product marking program »
Mis en ligne le 06 Fév 2018 par, Administrateur

The General Manager of Standards and Quality Agency confronted the press on news about the presence of non-compliant refined vegetable oil in our markets.

Question: Sir, thank you for answering questions from the press. Products unfit for consumption in the Cameroonian market. We know also that Customs has a role to play and the Ministry of Trade. What is Anor's reaction to this situation?

Charles BOOTO to NGON: Thank you and let’s say immediately that it was brought to the attention of Anor that some products especially imported refined vegetable oils are marketed throughout the country and that these oils do not meet applicable regulations. First it should be clear that these products have not received conformity assessment certificate issued by Anor. Why do I say so?

In order to protect the health and safety of consumers as well as the preservation of the environment, the Prime Minister, Head of Government, instituted the Pre-shipment Conformity Assessment Program (PACAE) on imported goodsinto the Republic of Cameroon. The program PECAEis valid on products for which standards are made mandatory. This would simply mean that for these products, conformity assessment is done in exporting countries by specialized and internationally recognized bodies.

So when this process is initiated in the exporting countries, there is an essential element called Certificate of Conformity that is issued by Anor. It must obligatorily be presented at the level of the Customs before clearing goods. So, you understand that these oils are in the market while Anor did not issue a Certificate of Conformity to that effect.

Of course, we have been monitoring and fortunately, Anor is working with the Ministry of Trade’s control Brigade which is in charge of market surveillance. That's why you did not see Anor in the markets. It is rather this brigade which took care of withdrawing these products from the commercial network.

In fact, we quickly understood that PECAE alone is not enough since it does not permits consumers shopping in the supermarkets to know whether products on the shelves have undergone conformity assessment.

That is why we are currently developing and I hope it is approved quickly, a tagging program. That is, not only must products be subjected to PECAE rules but they will also be marked. They will receive a distinctive sign “NC” mark which will facilitate the choice of consumers in commercial operations.

Question: Products that are in the market as you just mentioned without a Certificate of Conformity issued by Anor, how is this possible? And this is not the first time!

Charles BOOTO to NGON: This would simply mean that crooked businessmen are not sleeping. They have developed new schemes in exporting countries by which their products are not assessed. How then do we explain that a product without a certificate of conformity is exported and ends up in the market? Naturally, we must also look at other ways particularly including the terrestrial route and the porosity of our borders.

Question: Can you explain the registration process? What is it concretely?

Charles BOOTO to NGON: Very well then. As I said, it's a process that deals with products for which the standards are made mandatory. The businessman intending to import products for which standards aremandatory contact his supplier abroad with his declaration of importation issued by SGS. He informs his supplier about the nature of the product to be imported and the program PECAE for which the products shall be submitted to. To do this, you must contact the accredited bodies that will assess the conformity of this product at your expense before they arrives Cameroon. This means that test analyzes in the laboratories have proven that the product is good for consumption.

Question: Mr. General Manager, the same situation has been noted with the Lactalis milk products. Cameroon is among the 60 countries that received contaminated milk. What steps have been taken to manage this situation?

Charles BOOTO to NGON: I would like to start by saying that, regarding Lactalis products when we were alerted we contacted SGS and INTERTEK, the bodies doing this job on behalf of ANOR in the country of export. Both organizations informed us that they have not conducted any assessment on these products. This simply means that Lactalis milks also have not received any Certificate of Conformity.

The question therefore, just as with refined vegetable oils is how these products find their way into the local market. It would also mean that there are accomplices, crooked businessmen who want to bypass PECAE to endanger the health and safety of Cameroonians.

Question: Should ANOR cross her arms and watch passively the situation?

Charles BOOTO to NGON: We do not sit and do nothing. Naturally, we work with the Ministry of Trade through its law enforcement Brigade. ANOR in the meantime does not have the skills to do markets surveillance as is done elsewhere precisely in Nigeria and Kenya. Standardization bodies in these countries go beyond the development of standards. They assess compliance and go down the markets to be reassured that products sold comply with the standards.

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