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UNBS announces nationwide crackdown on underweight bread

The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has announced plans to conduct a nationwide crackdown on bakeries that supply underweight bread to the market.

The move comes as the market is flooded with numerous pre-packaged products that fall below the required measurements, including bread, non-carbonated drinks, and cement amongst others.

During a meeting with manufacturers, importers, and traders of packaged food and non-food products to promote fair trade practices, it was revealed that bread is the most common underweight product on the market. Lawrence Kitimbo, a senior metrologist at UNBS, explained that their field findings indicate that bread sourced from markets and small retail businesses often does not comply with weight regulations. 

"While bread baked and sold in supermarkets show good compliance, we have received numerous complaints regarding those baked and sold in ordinary markets and small retail businesses," Kitimbo stated.

He further emphasized that the UNBS is in the final stages of enforcing weight regulations, particularly for bread, on a national level. 

“They should be very careful and start working within the regulations that we have on weights because we are about to start operations if we find anybody displaying for sale or transporting any bread that is underweight and does not conform to the quantity displayed on the package, we shall be taking action which is going to be legal,” he said. 

Leatitiah Namubiru, manager for Legal Metrology at UNBS, revealed during the same meeting that the bureau will enforce the Weights and Measurements Act, as stipulated in Chapter 103 of the Ugandan Constitution.

She highlighted the need to update the current law, which was enacted in 1965, to align with the current situation and include other areas that were previously overlooked. 

Namubiru explained, "Under that law, we have the weights and measurements division, for weighing and measuring equipment, the volume and flow division for balky litres like trucks, static ones, as well as railway wagons, the prepackaged division, to verify pre-packed goods, and the utility section, for energy meters that are put on the national grid.”    

She expressed satisfaction with the compliance in the utility division, particularly in the energy sector, where meters used by energy companies conform to UNBS regulations.

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