Zambian Breweries Plc has denied being negligent, arguing that its beverages are carefully and properly packaged in an environment with utmost hygienic conditions.

The company says it is impossible that a drink packaged by it could contain ‘fungal growth’.

This is in a matter where a resident of Siavonga district in Southern Province has dragged Zambian Breweries PLC to the Lusaka High Court, demanding damages for food poisoning after allegedly drinking a bottle of Castle Lager contaminated with fungus.

Oliver Muunga is seeking general damages for the injury arising out of Zambian Breweries’ negligence, special damages which include K7,500 medical expenses, transport fares to and from the hospital, loss of earning as well as costs.

He stated in his statement of claim that on February 28, 2019, he was having some social time in Siavonga at a place called Indaba Pub and Grill popularly known as ‘Supu Yambuzi’.

Muunga stated that on the material day, he bought a bottled Castle Lager from Indaba Pub and Grill, which was opened by the bar attendant.

He stated that the attendant then handed the beer to him and he proceeded to drink its contents.

Muunga claimed that after drinking half of the Castle Lager, he immediately got nauseous and started vomiting profusely.

He stated that immediately this happened, the contents of the bottle were inspected which revealed some residues and settled matter at the bottom of the bottle.

“At which point, the plaintiff (Muunga) deteriorated quickly and was rushed to the hospital for medical intervention. The plaintiff was treated for food poisoning while the beer in question was submitted to the hospital, which sent it for analysis at the Food and Drugs Laboratory,” read the statement of claim.

Muunga stated that when the report came out, it confirmed that the beer in question which he consumed was contaminated with fungus.

He stated that he contacted the manufacturer of the beer but was instead only offered product replacement, which he refused.

But in its defence filed in the Lusaka High Court, Zambian Breweries has submitted that it will demonstrate at trial that its beverages are carefully and properly packaged in an environment with utmost hygienic conditions and that there is no possibility that a drink packaged by it could contain fungal growth.

It stated that if indeed there was any fungal growth in the said drink, which fact it denied, the same could be attributed to reasons which the company had no role to play.

“(i) The same could have grown after the bottle had been opened and prior to the laboratory analysis; (ii) The same could have been because the drink was a counterfeit or expired more so that the plaintiff (Muunga) denied to submit the bottle of the beer he allegedly consumed to Zambian Breweries in order for the company to ascertain its source, authenticity or expiry date; (iii) The same could be as a result of sabotage by unknown people or as a result of actions of unknown people after the bottle had left Zambian Breweries’ control with a view to damage its reputation or extort funds from it,” read its defence.

Zambian Breweries admitted that Muunga contacted the company but denied offering him a product replacement.

It denied that the said beverage was attributed to it or any insinuation of wrongdoing on its part.

Zambian Breweries further denied been negligent in any way, adding that Muunga was neither at law nor entitled to any of the reliefs he was seeking.

It added that it will in any event put Muunga to strict proof of the special damages as pleaded in his statement of claim.

“Save as herein expressly admitted, Zambian Breweries denies each and every allegation in the statement of claim as though the same were specifically set out and traversed in seriatim,” read the defence.