The National Consumer Commission is taking no chances in checking the reliability of a brand of condoms sold by a leading retailer, and plans to verify independently the finding by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) that they were okay.
The problem, commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala said yesterday, was that the condoms manufactured by Trust Condoms and distributed by Pick n Pay were SABS-approved in the first place, and she did not believe it was sound for the body that initially approved the product to test whether it met the standards at a later stage.
The brand of condoms would be sent to an independent laboratory for testing.
Mohlala said faulty condoms could have life-threatening consequences for those infected with HIV as a result. The commission received a complaint about bursting condoms on 20 February 2012 and referred it to the manufacturer, which said steps were being taken to remove all condoms from that lot number from shops. The company also sent samples to the SABS for tests which showed that all condoms in the lot complied with the SABS standards.
The commission "has opted to appoint an independent laboratory to test the condoms from this lot", Mohlala said.
"This complaint is also considered in a very serious light due to the current AIDS pandemic in SA, and one complaint may save thousands of lives. It is within in this context that the commission encourages consumers to be vigilant in ensuring that their rights are protected."
SABS spokeswoman Nomathemba Malinga said the organisation followed the approved national standards to test the sample batch and had full confidence that the correct procedures were followed. The SABS had "performed a full test on both batches in question". The confusion arose from the fact that the first sample contained only 150 condoms, while 800 are required to make a scientific judgement on the quality of the batch. The manufacturer had subsequently submitted the required 800 condoms, which were tested and passed "all the testing requirements".
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