KENYA – The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has announced new COVID-19 hygiene and safety protocols for food business operators, to guide their undertakings as the fight against the pandemic continues.

The new standard KNWA 2931:2021 provides guidelines on use of personal protective equipment (PPEs), management of staff sickness at premises and physical distancing to curb the spread of the virus.

In addition, the protocols also stipulate the identification of high touch points and good personnel hygienic practices such as hand washing, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and disinfection of work surfaces critical to food business operations.

“The new standards will ensure that we maintain movement of food along the food value chain and build consumer trust and confidence in the safety and availability of food.”

KEBS Managing Director – Bernard Njiraini

According to KEBS, these guidelines are intended to supplement existing codes of hygiene practice that have been published and complement the Food Management Systems that business operators have put in place and does not replace the existing codes of hygiene practice.

“Keeping personnel in the food production and supply chains healthy and safe is critical to surviving and thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The new standards will ensure that we maintain movement of food along the food value chain and build consumer trust and confidence in the safety and availability of food,” said KEBS Managing Director Bernard Njiraini.

Guided by Codex food standards, the new protocols target restaurants, hotels and eateries, wholesale/retail food outlets and informal markets, drivers in transport and delivery of food ingredients.

They will also guide on handling of open food display in retail premises such as salad bars, fresh produce displays, and bakery products, and staff canteens, among others.

The Codex food standards are international food and feed standards developed by joint committees organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) with the aim to safeguard the health of consumers and ensure fair trade practices in food.

KEBS is the premier organization responsible for the provision of standardization, measurement and conformity assessment services in Kenya.

Recently the organization 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.

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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