By OLIVER SAMBOKO
AUTHORITIES in Siavonga have with immediate effect shutdown Chinese operated Zamfresh Fish Company for failure to comply with the country’s COVID 19 and other Health regulations.
Zamfresh, one of the biggest fish farms operating along the shores of Lake Kariba was shutdown following an inspection carried out by a combined team of officers from Government departments and health agencies yesterday.
Siavonga District public relations officer, Gwendolyn Mwanza Mchenga said in an interview that the company was shut down due to poor sanitation and non-adherence to covid 19 health guidelines among other irregularities.
“The Farm was shutdown following an operation that was conducted by a combined team of officers from the District Administration Office, Zambia Police, Office of the President and Siavonga Town Council Public Health department after a tip off from concerned members of the public,” she said.
Ms Mchenga disclosed that Zamfresh had allegedly contravened the Public Health Act Cap 295, Food Safety Act No.7 of the laws of Zambia.
Among the issues that caused the closure are poor sanitation, poor management of waste, non-functional of both male and female toilets with fecal matter on the floors and walls, Overcrowding of workers in dormitories and poor ventilation, discharge of raw sewer into the environment causing smell nuisance, pollution of the environment and discharge of untreated effluent from the hatcheries and processing plant into the lake,” she said.
She said the company was also using untreated water in the fish processing plant which was also found to be operated by people who are not medically examined and certified to handle food for public consumption.
“Apart from this, it was also found that the company is not providing personal protective clothing to its employees including those operating from the lake,” said Ms Mchenga.
She however, said the local Authority has since made recommendations to management and that the company will only be allowed to resume operations after complying.
“The Farm will only be allowed to resume operations after undertaking to construct new waterborne toilets, dormitories for workers or reduce the number of occupants per room, and also construct a soak -way to prevent discharge of raw sewer into the environment and ensure that the effluent water from the hatcheries is treated before discharging it into the lake,” she said.