KENYA – In response to recent headlines casting doubts on the efficacy of its quality assurance procedures, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has issued a comprehensive clarification that seeks to shed light on its vital role in ensuring product quality and consumer protection.

The article in question erroneously suggested that KEBS’ “Mark of Quality” is not a guarantee of product excellence, prompting KEBS to set the record straight on its rigorous quality assurance processes.

KEBS, a statutory body established under the Standards Act, plays a crucial role in providing standardization, metrology, and conformity assessment solutions for sustainable development in Kenya.

Contrary to the doubts raised in the article, KEBS’ mission is to enhance the quality of life, protect consumers, and promote trade, industry, and innovation through rigorous quality control mechanisms.

The central focus of KEBS’ response is the misconceptions surrounding the “Diamond Mark of Quality,” a mark awarded to manufacturers who meet stringent criteria outlined in the Standards Act and the International Standard ISO/IEC 17065:2012.

This internationally recognized practice involves a meticulous process of inspection, evaluation of manufacturers’ premises, product sampling, testing, and the signing of a Scheme of Supervision and Control or Product certification contract with KEBS.

This commitment ensures continuous compliance with relevant standards and regulations governing the product.

KEBS emphasizes that the Diamond Mark of Quality is not a mere emblem; it signifies a manufacturer’s consistent ability to exceed minimum requirements set in product standards.

Contrary to suggestions, KEBS claims that it remains actively engaged in ensuring product quality. In the financial year 2022/2023, KEBS notes it conducted tests on over 60,000 consumer products, affirming its dedication to quality assurance.

Product certification

The process of product certification involves a series of stringent steps. Manufacturers must first be registered legal entities.

KEBS conducts thorough inspections of manufacturers’ premises, evaluating the capability of their production processes as per Section 10(3) requirements. Manufacturers are obligated to establish quality controls, guaranteeing the quality of raw materials, efficient production management, and adherence to packaging and labeling standards.

Subsequently, KEBS undertakes the vital task of sampling and testing products, ensuring their alignment with relevant Kenya Standards. To solidify their commitment to quality assurance, manufacturers enter into a certification contract with KEBS. This agreement outlines their dedication to upholding rigorous quality management activities.

The process doesn’t end there; KEBS maintains an active role in continuous monitoring. Through scheduled monitoring and surveillance inspections, KEBS ensures ongoing compliance throughout the certification validity period. This comprehensive approach underscores KEBS’ dedication to safeguarding product quality and consumer satisfaction in the Kenyan market.

System anchored in trust

KEBS clarifies that while it establishes and enforces adherence to standards, manufacturers bear the responsibility of producing goods that meet these benchmarks. The symbiotic relationship between KEBS and manufacturers fosters a system anchored in trust, reinforced by stringent protocols and penalties for deviations.

The misconception surrounding KEBS’ involvement in substandard procurement processes is addressed. KEBS clarifies that it was not involved in the tendering process that led to the procurement of substandard products.

Additionally, the statement that Diamond Mark products are not subject to inspection and testing upon arrival at the port of entry was taken out of context; a Diamond Mark signifies a rigorous compliance process.

KEBS invites the public to participate in consumer protection through its “Wajibika Na KEBS” program. The public can report suspected substandard products and verify S-Mark permits via SMS to 20023, while foul play by manufacturers can be reported through the toll-free number 1545.

As KEBS stands firm in its commitment to quality and consumer protection, the clarity provided through this comprehensive response aims to dispel misconceptions and reinforce the significance of quality assurance in the Kenyan market.

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