More than 40 residents of Kampala have sued Hariss International, a soft drink and confectionaries company, for selling them juice that got them bedridden. The company produces some of the popular brands on the Ugandan market, among them Oner Juice, Riham Cola, Skydew, Lavita, and Riham water, among others.
The manufacturer has been sued alongside Judith Turyahebwa and Sauda Tushabe, both retail shop operators where the said drink was reportedly bought from.
In their case, filed at the High Court Civil Division in Kampala on Thursday, the applicants who reside in areas of Kawempe, Kamwokya, Makerere and Kisenyi said that on 24, July 2020, they drank bottles of Oner Apple Juice while attending a meeting in Kamwokya, and ended up in a hospital with a severe fever, headache, diarrhoea, nausea and general body weakness.
Stanley Kimbowa who hosted the meeting in which the drinks were served says they only realized that there was a problem when they all developed similar symptoms shortly after the event. He adds that they then closely checked the bottles and found them with visible remains of whitish, fluffy cotton-like masses, which they believed to be maggots.
Kimbowa adds that the company decided to rebrand the drink and ignore the complaints that were initially filed by the same group.
The evidence before the court shows that they later took a sealed bottle of the drink to the government analytical laboratory in Wandegeya for testing where it was confirmed to have been adulterated. The lab report indicates that the drink had excesses of yeast cells than stipulated in the manufacturing standard.
Now, the affected persons are demanding 8.9 million Shillings to cover the cost of their medical expenses. They also claim to have lost earning as a result of the sickness which they value at 35 million Shillings.
The Civil Division Registrar Jameson Karemani is yet to summon Harris International to file their defence before the matter can be fixed for hearing.