Kenyan dairy processors to be liable of product recalls from retail stores

KENYA – Kenyan retailers are a happy lot following the government directing dairy processors to foot the cost of recalling unsafe milk and other dairy products from supermarket shelves and shops, as stipulated under the new Dairy Industry (Traceability and Recall), 2021 Regulations.

The new requirement, will for the first time shift the cost of withdrawing the unfit products from retailers to the producers, reports Business Daily.

Supermarkets and wholesale shops had, before the publication of the new regulations, taken the responsibility for withdrawing unsafe dairy products from their shelves whenever customer complaints arose.

The costs of recalling will add to expenses of compensating consumers who report cases of dangerous dairy products, as the state puts pressure on firms to ensure safety of their products.

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Under the new regulations, dairy processors will be required to keep the information of their suppliers, retailers and supermarkets for up to at least three months after expiry of the products.

Processors who breach the regulations risk a fine not exceeding Sh10,000, a year in jail or both.

Dairy Industry Regulations focus on critical areas such as registration, compliance, traceability, sales contracts and safety standards.

“Whenever the results of tested samples fail to meet the relevant standard, the producer or dairy business operator shall take immediate remedial action, which may include making a withdrawal, halting production, placing distribution on hold, produce recycling or initiating concessions,” Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said.

This is the latest bid by the government to ensure milk safety in the country and comes a months after the launch of 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.

Further to that, 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.

Other than focusing on traceability of products, the new Dairy Industry Regulations also focus on critical areas such as registration, compliance, sales contracts and safety standards.

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They are aimed to streamline the management of the industry, encourage investment and ensure safety of the products in a bid to boost both local and export trade.

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