Supermarkets will from May 1 be required to comply with the new regulation of ensuring that fresh produce is tested for higher pesticide residues and other contaminants.
A few retailers have agreed to take part in the piloting of the standards.
This follows the establishment of Kenya Standards 1758 developed by stakeholders in horticulture with the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) as a secretariat, requiring all vegetables and fruits to be subjected to the same quality standards as the ones for export.
Fresh Producers Consortium of Kenya (FPC) with other government institutions, including the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) will follow up on the compliance.
“We now have standards to enforce mandatory quality checks to ensure all fresh produce comply with the minimum required pesticide residues,” said Ojepati Okesegere, chief executive officer of FPC.
The move implies all retailers will now have to obtain fresh produce permit from the Directorate of Horticulture.
Failure to comply with the requirement on quality will see the licences revoked. They will have to undergo the process of compliance afresh to get the permits back.
Under the new standards, the produce will be tested twice for quality; at the source and the supermarket before they are placed on the shelves.
Kephis managing director Esther Kimani said this will ensure safety of the consumers by making sure the produce meet standards.
She said the agency is in touch with their counterparts in other regional countries on traceability of the produce exported to Kenya.
The produce that ends up at the local market is not subjected to quality checks, raising concerns over the safety of food products sold in the supermarkets or groceries, which have at times been found to be laden with heavy metals.