Nestlé embroiled in food safety row in Senegal

The Senegalese arm of the Swiss food and drinks group, Nestlé, has been caught up in an ongoing row with a consumer watchdog in the West African state over claims that its sugared UHT milk poses a health risk.

This content was published on August 15, 2000 - 17:19

The Senegalese watchdog, Ascosen, claims that Nestlé is selling a harmful product, which contains unacceptable levels of bacteria. Ascosen said the milk was found to have 57 times more bacteria than the legal upper limit.

Nestlé denies the claim. A spokesman at the company's headquarters in Switzerland, Marcel Rubin, told swissinfo: "We have conducted extensive tests in laboratories in Switzerland, France and Senegal which all prove that the UHT milk is safe."

Rubin said the Pasteur Institute in Dakar had confirmed Nestlé's findings, and accused Ascosen of "waging a defamatory campaign" against the company.

He added, "We've never had any other complaints about this particular product. I can't understand why Ascosen are so embittered against Nestlé".

The consumer organisation appealed to consumers at the weekend to boycott all Nestlé products.

Despite Ascosen's accusations being flatly rejected by the authorities in Dakar, there are signs that some Senegalese are heeding the warnings.

by Greg Morsbach

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