A National Consultative meeting to discuss draft East African Standards for Alcoholic beverages was recently held in Dar es Salaam, where experts came up with the scientific based decisions that will be tools during harmonization at East African Community Level.

Opening a three day meeting at Blue Pearl Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) Acting Director General, Leandri Kinabo said alcoholic beverage industry in Tanzania is of great social economic importance as it brings employment in the beverage industry as well as to small scale fruits and grains growers.

Kinabo said the process of standard development is endeavored to capture the principles as defined in World Trade Organization (WTO) and Technical Barriers to Trade agreement which include openness, transparency, consensus, coherence, effectiveness and relevance.

He said the set standards will guide manufacturers to produce quality products which will penetrate in the international markets, hence reflect their value in the world trade industrialization.

“Standardization which is done through the worldwide principles of consensus among different stakeholders as you are going to do, the focus should make a reference to authoritative information standards from International Standard setting bodies in order to come up with standards that best suit our environment, economic background and legislation”, he said David Mgwasa, the Managing Director of Tanzania Distilleries Limited (TDL) which produces Konyagi brand, said manufacturers in Tanzania need to have the value of what they produce by setting standards which will allow products to compete worldwide.

“We need to set standards which will allow consumers to buy our products bearing in mind that we are in East Africa Common market.’, he said.
The meeting drew 30 participants from institutes, agencies, ministries, organizations, companies and a representative from Zanzibar Bureau of Standards. It was sponsored by TBS and TDL.
Participants discussed and reached national consensus on the technical requirements in the draft standards for Alcoholic beverages that were submitted for national consultation by the East African Technical Standards Sub Committee.

The Standards for review include: EAS 61: 2000, Opaque Beer – Specification, EAS 104: 1999, Alcoholic Beverage – Method of Test, EAS 109: 1999, Portable Spirit –Specification, EAS 138: 2000, Grape Still Table Wine – Specification, EAS 139: 2000, Fortified Wines – Specification and EAS 140: 2000, Sparkling Wine – Specification.

Other draft standards are: EAS 141: 2003, Whisky Specification, EAS 142: 2000, Vodka – Specification, EAS 142: 2003, Brandy – Specification, EAS 144: 2000, Neutral Spirit – Specification, EAS 145: 2000, Gin – Specification and EAS 146: 2000, Rum Specification.

The next meeting of experts to discuss the same topic will be held in Kigali Rwanda from 2012-12-11 to 2012-12-14 whereby the selected representatives will submit country comments on alcohol beverages.