Kenyan standards body tightens compliance with rules on food additives

KENYA – The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has unveiled that it is seeking to make it mandatory for all companies seeking to introduce food additives to back approval requests with scientific studies proving they are safe.  

The standards body will work in partnership with a Egerton University, local university, in implementing the regulation that seeks to ensure that food additives are used in required amounts and in specific food products as recommended by the law.

The law also requires manufacturers to label their products and provide a list of all additives included- which is done using names of the additives or a recognised numbering system to identify the additives.

KEBS Principal Standards Officer, Peter Mutua, says that the country has adopted the CODEX Standards, which are championed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

According to the CODEX standards, it is mandatory for manufacturers to include on the ingredients’ list, the name of each food additive used in their products.

These guidelines are recognised and accepted globally in international trade.

Mr Mutua also notes that the agency has also intensified pre-shipment inspection of food-related products to counter the importation of counterfeits, reports The Standard.

“We have intensified pre-shipment inspections to ensure food additives products that enter the country through our entry points are safe,” said Mutua.

He said manufacturers whose products are found unsafe for human consumption would lose their licences.

The agency has also rolled out a nationwide campaign to sensitise stakeholders in the food sector on the safe use of food additives to ensure they adhere to set regulations.

“Misuse of food additives are poisonous to persons health and that is why we are seriously engaging relevant stakeholders to ensure safe use of food additives in the country,” said Mr Mutua.

Even as contemporary consumers are seen to be now calling the shots on corporate accountability particularly for manufacturing concerns, sustainable growth and profitability can only be ensured with well packaged consistent quality products.

Notably, emerging countries are making more progress in the actions launched to take advantage of growing economies in order to achieve better food quality systems, although they don’t score as well when their current situation is evaluated, given the functioning of the markets and the lower quality consumption.

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