The caution comes after officials from Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) apprehended 9,844 packs of baby diapers from China with an estimated value of 12,859 US dollars (about 15m/-) imported by Yeh's Homewin Enterprises Ltd which operates shops at Kariakoo in Dar es Salaam.
Revealing the findings to this paper, TBS Senior Quality Assurance Officer, Mr Lazaro Msasalaga said the diapers were seized on arrival from China in December, last year and passed through several tests before being declared sub-standard.
"We seized this consignment late last year but since the importer kept insisting his cargo had obtained recommended quality requirements, we had to prove him wrong through a number of tests," he said.
According to him, out of three tests done on the samples between December, last year and March, this year, two of them tested negative failing parameters of absorptive capacity as well as marking and labelling.
"The tests showed that the diapers cannot absorb and hold the wastes as required hence causing problems to the skin of the babies which is particularly very sensitive," said Mr Msasalaga who is also the TBS Acting Head of Inspection.
Low or poor quality standards of diapers might pose serious risks to the delicate skin of babies and even the elderly, most of which are easily available in the local market.
A survey by this paper has shown that diapers are sold between 3,000/- and 4,000/- a piece. Mr Msasalaga, however, could not rule out the possibility of cheating in the process of importing the inferior cargo, since the particulars in the container's bill of landing showed it was imported by one Yeh's Hong Yuan International Tanzania Investment Ltd.
Following the seizure, the importer was instantly fined 3.5m/- including paying destruction costs totalling more than 2m/-. The diapers will be destroyed today at Pugu dumpsite.
This is the third time in less than a year TBS has been forced to destroy sub-standard goods following public outcry on the need for the bureau to impose stricter measures to importers of sub-standard products.
Last week, the Minister for Trade and Industries, Dr Abdallah Kigoda stressed on the need for the bureau to institute its full powers including implementing of the new law which calls for tougher action against culprits.
He also revealed that the ministry will start allocating a budget for TBS development expenditures which will assist in capacity building and establishment of zonal offices to speed up goods inspection operations.
Experts warn that although diapers make parenting so much easier, not all diapers have a positive effect on babies calling on a need to check whether they cause allergies to children as soon as they start using them. Parents are also advised to go for branded and known diapers that are of high quality although they may be costly.