Kebs take new measures to curb counterfeit products

Mr Charles Ongwae, Kebs managing director. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Mr Charles Ongwae, Kebs managing director. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has introduced stringent measures to curb proliferation of substandard goods including food stuffs into the country.

The watchdog body has embarked on aggressive market surveillance targeting high risk products that will ensure that imported goods meet the required international standards.

The Kebs Managing Director Charles Ong’wae Thursday revealed that several substandard food and non-food items have been seized and destroyed in the fight against counterfeit products.

“We have acquired additional equipment to enhance testing and calibration of capacity for Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and breathe analyzers,” disclosed Mr Ong’wae in a press statement.

He said Kebs has impounded 220 kilograms of substandard rice and 770 kilograms of fake sugar in its routine market surveillance.

“We have been targeting food products traded by Chinese supermarkets due to non-compliance in marketing and corrective actions have been implemented,” said Mr Ong’wae.

He disclosed that East African Community (EAC) member states have introduced measures to carry out joint verification of products at entry points.

He said the watchdog body has acquired Rapid Mycotoxin Testing kit to screen maize in Malaba, Busia and Namanga among other areas in Rift Valley, Central, Nairobi, Coast and North Eastern regions.

“We have carried out survey of aflatoxin in milk and animal feeds to ensure that manufacturers of such products adapt new regulations. All products are expected to be certified by Kebs,” explained Mr Ongwae.

This comes even as the cost of animals feeds skyrockets due to increased cost of cereals including maize and wheat due to the decreased supply.

The recent dry spell led to shortage of pasture compelling livestock farmers to resort to dry feeds like bran which are expensive.

“Scarcity of hay has pushed up the prices with a bale that was going at Sh 200 selling at Sh 350, an increase that affects milk production by half,” said Julius Lagat from Saos Nandi County.

According to Mr Ong’wae, Kebs has also included methanol in classified list of dangerous chemicals and set conditions for manufacturers to comply with standards to ensure the safety of alcoholic drinks.