KENYA – The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has announced the commencement of investigations into the authenticity and safety of Uji Power and Okra, following widespread claims of their purported health benefits, particularly in enhancing sexual wellness.

During a media engagement session in Naivasha, Director Market Surveillance Peter Kaigwara responded to inquiries regarding the safety of these products, acknowledging the intelligence received by KEBS and affirming immediate action.

Kaigwara directed his team to conduct thorough examinations of Uji Power and Okra, with a commitment to disclosing their findings to the public.

While KEBS primarily focuses on maintaining quality and safety standards, Geoffrey Karau, Director of Quality Assurance and Inspection, emphasized the need for collaboration with other relevant agencies to address concerns surrounding these products.

Karau suggested that agencies such as the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEFIS) and the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board (KPPB) should play a role in examining Okra and Uji Power, respectively.

With limited enforcement officers available for inspections, Kaigwara urged Kenyans to report any suspicious or counterfeit products circulating in the market. This call to action follows recent incidents, such as the fake fertilizer scandal, which posed significant threats to food security in the nation.

Meanwhile, the demand for Okra has surged, driven by its newfound reputation for enhancing sexual health, particularly among women.

Similarly, Uji Power, a traditional porridge known for its perceived energy-boosting properties, continues to gain popularity among consumers, especially men. It contains ingredients such as arrowroots, sweet potatoes, milk, ground nuts, sugarcane juice and cassava. 

In addition to the investigation into Uji Power and Okra, KEBS is working on developing standards and regulations to support the commercialization and hygienic handling of these products.

Dr. Muriira Karau, Director of Quality Assurance and Inspection at KEBS, highlighted the importance of certification for SMEs producing such products, noting that it grants access not only to the Kenyan market but also to the broader East Africa Community (EAC) market.

He revealed that the standards watchdog has a subsidized package and many incentives including product development and incubation up to certification for SMEs.

KEBS aims to harmonize standards with regional bodies to facilitate market access for Kenyan products, particularly those from SMEs, fostering innovation and economic growth.

For all the latest food safety news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.