Cameroon – Alcohol: Whiskey in sachets continues its ravages

Written by Deckson N.

For health professionals, this is a danger that reduces physical capacity and can lead to heart attacks, liver cirrhosis, nervous disorders and often madness.

On 12 September 2016, the end of the two-year reprieve granted to whiskey producers in pouches was to end. On 12 September 2014, a joint decree was signed by the Ministers of Mines, Industry and Technological Development (MINMIDT), Commerce and Public Health, making the standard on spirit drinks compulsory .

A survey conducted by the Agence des Normes et de la Qualité, ANOR (Standards and Quality Agency) between 2013 and 2014 established that the alcohol content in these beverages is not respected. Cameroonians consume drinks with an alcohol content of over 40%. More severe, laboratory analysis revealed that manufacturers used methanol instead of ethanol, which is the alcohol used in the manufacture of whiskey.

According to the Baromètre Communautaire newspaper published on 24 November 2016, these scientific and technical evidences have led healthcare professionals to say that this is a danger that reduces physical capacity and can lead to heart attacks; Cirrhosis of the liver; Nervous disorders and often, madness …

“I do not believe that sachet whiskeys are not uncommon in our markets, our deliverers and wholesalers. It is only that the price went from 1500 to 1800 FCFA, an increase of 300 FCFA. What drives us to sell a sachet at 125 FCFA instead of 100 FCFA in the past, “says Mary, a reseller of these products.

Yet the MINMIDT, Emmanuel Bondé [at the time] was categorical on 12 September 2014: “There is no longer any question of importing raw materials or of producing whiskeys in sachets and cans. This merchandise must imperatively disappear from our markets within these deadlines, “he hammered.

Today, the announced ban has remained a pious wish. “There is no control, even though some employees of the Department of Commerce approach us, we let them know that we are not aware of the ban and if they insist we make arrangements and they go, “confessed Justine, a call-boxer at the Mvog Atangana-Mbala market in Yaounde, for whom the sale of whiskey in bags represents the bulk of the turnover.

According to the standard, “spirit drinks must be packed in containers other than plastic bags or bottles. Receptacles shall be manufactured with materials which are safe and suitable for their intended use. They shall not transmit to the products any toxic substance or odor or undesirable flavor “.

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Deckson N.

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