Standards agency acts tough on counterfeits

Anti-counterfeit officials inspect seized fake phones. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Anti-counterfeit officials inspect seized fake phones. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The country is losing millions of shillings through proliferation of counterfeit food products and sub-standard construction materials, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has said.

“Market surveillance indicates that some imported products do not conform to regulations with respect to health, safety and environmental requirements,” said Mr Patrick Nduati, Principal Secretary for Investment and Industry.

The standardisation body has consequently constructed a North Rift regional office and laboratories to curb entry of inferior goods. The office will serve the North Rift and parts of western regions, including Bungoma and Busia counties.

“The laboratories will further enhance testing and calibration services to support industries that have a major impact in the region, such as flour, milk and tea sectors,” said Mr Nduati.

Kebs has in the past three years targeted food products traded by Chinese supermarkets due to non-compliance in marketing.

“The agency now requires all imported products to have secure standardisation marks. This will help trace genuinely imported goods. Consumers are able to know the importer and the product description,” said Kebs managing director Charles Ongwae in an earlier interview.

Last year, Kebs impounded 220kg of substandard rice and 770kg of inferior sugar.

“An estimated 26,550 pieces of non-confirmative steel bars have been seized since last year in Eldoret and Nairobi and an additional 72,462 pieces of roofing material have been seized in Kisii, Meru, Embu and Mombasa owing to non-compliance in zinc-aluminum coating,” said Mr Ogwae.

Kebs has constructed new facilities for coast region (Mombasa), lake region (Kisumu) and North Rift region (Eldoret).

Animal feed manufacturers are also being closely monitored.