Stock only certified locally manufactured commodities, UNBS tells supermarket owners

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The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has asked all supermarket owners in the country to ensure their outlets stock only certified locally manufactured and inspected imported commodities. 

This initiative aims to combat substandard goods and bolster consumer protection, the government’s quality control agency announced.

The bureau said during a stakeholder engagement session with supermarket owners and operators in the central region, held at UNBS’s headquarters in Bweyogerere that it had unveiled the Digital Conformity Marking (DCM) programme that provides a track-and-trace mechanism for consumers, supermarkets, and other retail outlets to distinguish between genuinely certified and substandard commodities.

 “Today’s primary focus is the Digital Conformity Marking program. We’ve introduced technology that allows the public to use their phones to verify if a product is genuinely certified by UNBS. As supermarket owners, it’s your responsibility to ensure that all products on your shelves are certified and safe for consumers,” said Ms Patricia Bageine Ejalu, Deputy Executive Director in charge of Standards at UNBS.

The DCM programme, according to her, involves issuing Digital Conformity Marks/Stamps to certified commodities, providing consumers with proof that the products meet applicable standards and are of high quality. 
“These stamps contain information such as product details, the standard under which it is assessed, certification date, batch number, manufacturer’s name, and more. Supermarket owners, consumers, and the public can use the Kakasa App to scan these stamps and verify product certification,” added Mr Phillip Kahuma, acting manager, and Certification at UNBS said.

Currently, the DCM programme covers three commodity categories: construction materials, electrical commodities, and cosmetics. Each digital conformity mark costs Shs21 and is expected to lower business costs, particularly for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), as manufacturers can order a number of marks matching their production volume.

During the meeting, supermarket owners were also advised to avoid stocking expired products and altering expiry dates.

“We will not negotiate on the issue of expired goods on supermarket shelves. They are harmful to public health. Remove them before UNBS does. Changing expiry dates to extend shelf life is illegal and punishable by law. If you wouldn’t buy expired products for your family, don’t leave them for other families to buy,” warned Mr Daniel Arorwa, Manager Market Surveillance at UNBS.