Delta wins ‘contamination’ case

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THE Supreme Court has granted Delta Beverages reprieve from paying a whopping $20 000 to a consumer, Onismo Rutsito, who had claimed damages for allegedly consuming a contaminated beverage.

BY CHARLES LAITON

The court ruled in favour of the bottling firm in a protracted dispute between Rutsito and Coca-Cola firm which had been in the courts since 2011.

Rutsito was claiming he consumed a contaminated Coca-Cola beverage in which “a rusting iron nail and blackish foreign substance” had been found upon inspection.

The consumer claimed that as a result, he had suffered stress and anxiety which he wanted the firm to compensate him for.

The civil matter was heard at the High Court before Justice Francis Bere, who after listening to submissions by both parties, ordered Coca-Cola to defend itself and explain why it had allegedly failed to take necessary precautions in the manufacturing process.

The ruling by Justice Bere was then challenged by Delta Beverages lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who argued that the judge had erred in his findings by ordering Coca-Cola to give an explanation in a case that had no evidence.

Delta Beverages denied that any harmful foreign particle of any nature was found in the unopened bottle of Coke and further argued that the manufacturing and bottling process made it impossible to produce a beverage that contained a nail.

On Thursday last week Judge of Appeal, Justice Paddington Garwe, in his judgment that was agreed to by Justices Vernanda Ziyambi and Yunus Omerjee, ordered the civil proceedings that were being carried out at the High Court against Delta Beverages to be halted.

“On the facts of this case, no particulars of negligence were alleged or proved. Such failure assumes an important dimension when regard is had to the fact that the appellant (Delta Beverages) is a beverage manufacturer,” Justice Garwe said.

“It is now settled that the liability of a beverage manufacturer or brewery is not absolute. If steps it took to avoid contamination were reasonable, in the sense that nothing more could reasonably been done, then it would not be liable because it would not have been negligent.

“I would agree that at the end of the plaintiff’s case (Rutsito) before the court a quo (which heard the matter), there was no evidence before the court on the state or condition of the bottling equipment used by the appellant (Delta Beverages) . . . there was no evidence that the appellant had failed to take the necessary precautions in the manufacturing process,” he said before ruling in Delta Beverage’s favour.

9 COMMENTS

  1. I think Delta should allow this guy time at their bottling plant for him to appreciate that there’s literally no way such “foreign” substances can get into the bottling process. Am sure he must have carefully opened the bottle, deposited the nail & put back the lid on the bottle or maybe someone was trying to poison him by putting this stuff whilst he was drinking his coke.

  2. Its very unfortunate that people should feel delta isn’t in the wrong.Our people have been for ages taking delta beverages: and they have made a lot of money in the process much that they owe it to the general public not to spare any effort to avoid contamination of what is consumed by so many people.I am very much livid; within reason- a friend and I once found blackish maggots like objects and fine sediments in a sealed bottle of coke.A number of people saw this.With a friend we took the bottle to delta -along Crips road….and reported the matter “Our aim was not to cause any trouble for delta.Just that we felt social responsible and wanted this brought to their attention to avoid it happening to other.We went and saw the PR manager and were told to leave the bottle for lab analysis and they told us to leave our contact details- we did.Nearly a week later they called.Never have I had my intelligence insulted as was this day.We were told lab results shows that it was rice grains!And we each were given a bottle of coke.

    I urge you friends such huge corporates disdain good intentions and thinks people are idiots.As such if you find such alien stuff in consumables….go to extra lenghts to preserve your evidence take photographs with reputable members of society like pastors etc take that evidence in its untampered state and make a police report….seek advice with a legal expert and sue them.You just might help change that public disregard they seem to have and save a life…..as for me and my friend – we no longer take coke and have strongly discouraged any one who cares to take heed ever since.Remember its your health and your money….they just care for the later!

    • I would like to say it was really unfortunate of our courts to rule in favour of Delta. More should have been considered about the person who reported this than to want Delat to prove that their bottling process is erro free. God have mercy on our judges.

      What William has said above is absolutely true, that he found those foreign objects in his drink. In about 1997 I also bought a coca cola bottle drink that had a lot of suspended foreign staff. I complained to the owner of the shop where I bought from but he was not willing to give a replacement. I took the bottle and its contents to Delta myself and spoke to the PR manager who appologised to me and gave me 6 drinks.
      He told that they would send the on for analysis. He also challenged to take a sample of the contents and perfom independent analsis if I wished.
      I did take a sample which I took a lab but could not afford the cost of analysis. So those who support big companies are actaully doing it at their peril. One day who will eat food staffs contaminated with human poo. Internationally, such objects have been reported in food staffs such as beegers etc.
      As consumers, lets stand in defence of our common interests! I also urge our courts to have sober judges and judges that for the people. Increasingly, the quality of products has gone down in Zimbabwe to the extend that used condoms are reportedly found in Chibuku breweries’s scud containers.

  3. Rutsito is just unfortunate. I myself support him. Delta employees had an opportunity to open the bottles and re-close them. I was once employed at packaging at chibuku exactly some had an opportunity to hide with crates heaps and drink heavily then re-close for delivery. People are different the rude may get that opportunity to put foreign objects into the drink.

    • hahaha, not with coke my fellow x w/mate. coke munhu anonwa achipedza, if it was chibuku i’d agree with you.no employee can open a 300ml bottle of coke and deposit a nail into it.rinotovhurwa ronwiwa richibva rapera ipapo.

  4. so wat is yr story @ komo, if the employees could open the bottle and reclose it, does then mean that delta as a corporate should pay or bear allegiance to the bad deeds of bad behaved employees. this again is quite a very different case. this is a mineral drink and not opaque drink. is it possible to open a soft drink and close it. yu are shallow minded that is why you have been working as a contract worker / crew member.

  5. On countless times people have come out in the papers having found “foreign materials” in bottles of beverage including condoms. These people never sued and Delta always apologised and promised to investigate. All of a sudden because this guy is suing them they are telling us it is not possible. Come on guys….

  6. the world we live in is imperfect dont expect to b rewarded justly in everything, delta is am expertised company with a gr8t reputation but jus dont expect it to produce perfect products coz human errors are there, what we can do is to remind them of the wrong they have done and they should find a solution for them not to repeat that same mistake then life goes on

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