Kebs tightens compliance with rules on food additives

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has embarked on a nationwide crackdown that seeks to cushion the public against harmful food products.

Kebs Principal Standards Officer Peter Mutua said yesterday the agency has also intensified pre-shipment inspection of food-related products to counter the importation of counterfeits.

"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 yesterday 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.

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"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.

He said the agency in partnership with Egerton University wants to make it mandatory for all companies seeking to introduce food additives to back approval requests with scientific studies proving they are safe. Mutua said the regulations also seek 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. Some do that using names while others prefer to use a recognised numbering system to identify the additives.

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Mr Mutua said the country has adopted the CODEX Standards, which are championed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

These guidelines are recognised and accepted globally in international trade. 

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. 

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KebsPeter MutuaKenya Bureau of Standards