Kenya opens National Dairy Laboratory to enhance safety compliance, KEBS approves new lactose testing methods

KENYA – Kenya has inaugurated a National Dairy Laboratory to be managed by the country’s Dairy Board, to boost its capacity to conduct quality surveillance and safety compliance.

The operationalization of the laboratory will enhance food quality, nutritional security, increased manufacturing through processing, value addition, traceability, product diversification and market penetration.

The facility was commissioned by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya who further put-on notice dairy dealers adulterating milk and using non-food grader containers, that government will catch up with them very soon.

In his list of culprits who are on government’s radar include producers not observing withdrawal periods after animal treatment, use of unsafe ingredients in the manufacture of feeds and traders involved in unscrupulous importation of dairy products through porous border points.

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In addition, he highlighted that the government will soon start regulating milk prices to guarantee market stability.

According to reports by People Daily, the ministry has drafted new dairy regulations and the same have been subjected to intensive public participation.

Equally, the rules have been forwarded to the Attorney General for gazettement after which they will become law.

Key focus of the regulations, Munya said is regulating the minimum price for milk in the country.

“Every six months, we will be undertaking a study and equally setting up a price for milk. The regulations will also help in controlling imports which have been a big challenge in the industry,” he said.

Munya added, “Government is keen to ensure the local producers are protected against imports in order to benefit from the prevailing market prices.” 

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Prior to the commissioning of the dairy laboratory, the CS opened the Dr.  Igor Mann leather complex at Animal Health and Industry Training Institute (AHITI) Kabete.

The facility is equipped with modern machinery for processing of leather footware. It will also be used to train youth in leather processing which will play a big role in job creation and giving skills.

“Food standards ensure food quality and safety to final consumers throughout the supply chain, from preparation of raw materials, production and distribution to the market.”

Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini – Managing Director, KEBS

KEBS approves new standards for testing lactose in milk

Meanwhile, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has approved new analytical test methods for measuring levels of lactose in milk and milk products being sold in the market, meant to protect consumers who suffer from its intolerance.

Under the new guidelines, manufacturers are required to ensure that their products are safe for consumption and have all milk products labelled either as containing lactose or being lactose free or having lactose levels that meet the minimum thresholds.

Lactose is the most abundant type of sugar or carbohydrate in milk and milk products that can be difficult for some people to digest and is normally hydrolyzed during digestion by the enzyme lactase-phlorizin hydrolase.

People deficient in this enzyme can experience gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, cramps, bloating and diarrhoea.

Research has shown approximately 68% of the global human population are lactose intolerant with the problem affecting 63 % in Sub-Saharan Africa and 39% in Kenya.

“Food is the anchor that sustains human life. Ensuring its safety has increasingly become crucial. Food standards ensure food quality and safety to final consumers throughout the supply chain, from preparation of raw materials, production and distribution to the market,” says Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini, Managing Director, KEBS.

The new guidelines are among the 35 food standards, test methods, codes of practice and guidelines approved by the National Standards Council (NSC) to strengthen food safety and quality in the country.

It is expected that these news standards will increase the competitiveness in the market by providing higher quality products and promoting lower prices through technological innovations.

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