Kenya Bureau of Standards raids Chinese supermarket

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has unearthed several substandard goods being sold in shops within Nairobi.

A raid done at Yi'Sheng supermarket in Hurlingham, exposed several products that do not conform to the standards fit for consumers.

"Most of the food products here are poorly handled and other goods do not meet the standards set by Kebs. They also lack proper labeling that allows consumers to know what exactly they are buying," said Kebs Principle Surveillance Officer Gabriel Waiganjo.

Kebs officials said they also raided the supermarket because most of its products were labelled in Chinese despite the fact that it is open to the Kenyan public.

Several of the supermarket attendants admitted that they don't know what was contained in the packaged products, and they are never sure of what to tell shoppers who inquire about them. They further said that they are sometimes forced to change expiry dates on the products.

The owner of the supermarket however, claimed that they were not aware that they needed to conform to Kebs standards since their target market is fellow Chinese people. Speaking in Chinese, she said the products are not meant for Kenyans, and she didn't see the need to label the products in English or Swahili.

Kebs on the other hand maintained that as long as a business is operating within the country, then the language used in labelling should be English or Swahili. Their surveillance officers explained that even if Ya'Sheng feels their target market is Chinese, they must have a supplementary label in English.

The supermarket was established in 2013, and has been importing products from China.

Blaming our porous borders for such goods, Mr Waiganjo said, "the point of entry of these products doesn't have to be the port. Some of these traders have found different ways of smuggling goods into the country".

During the raid, Kebs seized the goods they wanted removed from the shelves and served the supermarket with a 14-day notice to conform to the rules or face permanent closure.