The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has directed all supermarkets re-packing and re-branding foods to embrace standards set by the bureau in their trade environment.
The standardization body has also sent a cautionary to all supermarkets, repackaging and rebranding goods they have not manufactured to ensure that the products retailing in the supermarkets are certified.
The alert came after KEBS held discussions with various leading supermarkets representatives following complaints that were received from consumer lobby groups in relation to repackaged foods in supermarkets.
Speaking during the meeting, KEBS Managing Director Mr. Charles Ongwae emphasized the importance and benefits of having fair and healthy trading environment. “It is imperative our supermarkets embrace the use of standards and that products offered for sale are safe, of good quality while at the same time complying with all provisions of standards yet ensuring that the principle of fair trade is effectively applied,” noted Mr. Ongwae.
Some of the practices that KEBS market surveillance team observed at the outlets were; supermarkets presenting processed foods (e.g. crisps) that are marked or labeled as though they had been manufactured by the outlets.
The KEBS surveillance team also warned against repackaging of foods referred to as sensitive foods such as milk, edible fats and oils, frozen foods, margarines, fat spread and water stating that, if they did not observe the defined standardization requirements, they would pose a danger to health and safety of consumers.
While addressing to the above concerns, Mr. Ongwae noted that, labeling requirements was mandatory in all re-packaged products and emphasized on the KEBS standardization mark permit.
“As the only standardization body in the country, we’re mandated to provide standardization and conformity assessment services of all goods and services in the country. We urge all retailers to include the name of product, list of ingredient, net content, name and address of manufacturer, country of origin, date marking and instructions of use and storage conditions on all re-packaged goods. This is the assurance consumers are looking for while they purchase these items,” added Mr. Ogwae.
Mr. Ongwae, reiterated his organization is committed to working with key stakeholders to support the growth of a quality conscious competitive industry by providing standards and conformity assessment solutions that facilitate trade as well as acquire the right standards and codes of practice.