The dairy industry regulator, Kenya Dairy Board, is betting on the establishment of a national dairy regulatory laboratory to improve quality and safety of dairy produce in the market.
According to MD Margaret Kibogy, this plan — supported by the national government — is expected to enhance surveillance on the quality and safety of dairy produce.
“In addition, the government is improving the regulatory framework to ensure organised marketing of raw milk and strengthening of quality and traceability mechanisms in the dairy value chain,” she said this week.
She said the government has invested in modern laboratory equipment to test for contaminants such as aflatoxins, antibiotics and pesticides in dairy and livestock feed. This, she said, would promote surveillance mechanisms and provide testing facilities for firms.
“These facilities are available at the Directorate of Veterinary Services, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services, and at the Naivasha-based Dairy Research Institute,” added Ms Kibogy.
In recent weeks, alarm has been sounded over the safety and quality of milk on sale. For instance, a study published by the Pan African medical journal showed that raw milk sold in parts of coast region, such as Lamu West sub county, was adulterated with water and antimicrobial residues.
Ms Kibogy said the government had developed a policy and action plan to reduce antimicrobial resistance in the country.
According to KDB, the dairy sector provides livelihood to about 1.8 million smallholder dairy farmers who rear between two to five cows per household.