The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has written to retailers to remove sanitisers made by 28 unlicensed manufacturers who have taken advantage of increased demand for the commodity in the wake of Covid-19.
The standards agency says the manufacturers are risking the war on the pandemic as consumers are using these sanitisers whose qualities cannot be guaranteed as the manufacturers continue to mint millions from their sales.
The Kebs last week wrote to the Retail Association of Kenya to warn its members that action would be taken against them should they be found stocking the sanitisers from the 28 listed companies.
The agency’s director for market surveillance, Peter Kaigwara, said a market surveillance exercise had been conducted and many supermarkets and chemists found stocking the sanitisers illegally.
“Any person found offering for sale products that do not comply with the Kenyan standards shall be prosecuted. Notify all your members to remove from the shelves any products that do not have a valid standardisation mark, which can be verified through a mobile phone platform,” Mr Kaigwara wrote in the letter addressed to the RAK chief executive Wambui Mbarire.
Standardisation marks placed on all products have a code, which can be verified through the number 20023 on SMS.
The agency is said to have resorted to targeting retailers after several makeshift manufacturers emerged to meet the rising demand for sanitisers in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Five of the 28 manufacturers turned out to be unknown, meaning their products are retailing in the market without manufacturer identity while others are renowned manufacturers like Flame Tree Africa Ltd and Dhahabu Oils Ltd.
Others are Elex EA products, Inmed Labs, Afrego Kenya Limited, Airos investments, Solid Base Chemicals, Vicente Gaps Industries, Hygiene Chemical Ltd and A&J London, among others.
“We have very covert companies with no address, which makes it hard to track them down, that is why we chose the route to target the outlets and stop the sale of these products.
“Some are substandard with low alcohol content, which is a high risk to the users at the time we are battling a pandemic,” a market surveillance officer said in confidence as details of the substandard nature of the products are yet to be released.
The manufacturers end up denying the Kebs the levies it needs to be allowed to make the products as well as undercut genuine manufacturers.
who end up paying less tax to the government due to lowered sales volumes.