KENYA – In a recent announcement, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has issued a stern warning to the public regarding the consumption of goods lacking standardization marks, commonly known as S-Marks.

The directive applies to packaged foods, chemicals, and various other products. Importers, manufacturers, retailers, and stockists have also been cautioned against selling items without proper labeling or the required S-Mark.

KEBS emphasized that it cannot guarantee the quality and safety of products without appropriate packaging, labeling information, and verifiable standardization marks.

To address this concern, the agency will continue to conduct market surveillance and factory inspections.

In cases where substandard products are identified, they will be seized for destruction at the expense of the importer, manufacturer, or retailer, alongside any necessary legal actions as per the existing regulations.

The S-Mark, mandated by the Standard Act, serves as an assurance that a manufactured product meets the established quality requirements.

To obtain the S-Mark, manufacturers must adhere to a product certification scheme. This scheme entails implementing supervision and control measures during the manufacturing process to ensure product quality.

A certification contract is established between the manufacturer and KEBS, ensuring compliance with relevant standards.

Once a factory inspection is conducted and product samples are tested, a permit to use the S-Mark on the product is issued.

The certified manufacturer must then maintain adherence to the certification scheme throughout the two-year validity period.

Additionally, KEBS conducts surveillance and testing of products available for sale in the market to verify ongoing compliance by certified manufacturers.

Unfortunately, despite these measures, it has been discovered through consistent market surveillance and testing that certain products lacking standardization marks continue to circulate.

Consequently, these products fail to comply with Kenya’s standards and the Standards Act, Cap 496, Laws of Kenya.

This warning from KEBS follows a recent incident involving the release of condemned sugars to the public, resulting in the dismissal of top officials within the agency.

The incident underscores the importance of strict adherence to quality standards and highlights the need for increased vigilance in enforcing regulations.

It is crucial for consumers to remain vigilant while purchasing goods and to verify the presence of standardization marks and proper labeling before consuming products.

By prioritizing consumer safety and supporting KEBS’ efforts, individuals can contribute to a marketplace that upholds quality standards and ensures the well-being of all consumers.

In Rwanda, the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has also initiated a special market surveillance to clamp down on traders engaged in fake, unregistered and adulterated products.

A Principal Regulatory Officer at the office, Francisca Patoah Agyarko said the exercise was necessitated due to the polarised nature of the Ghana-Cote D’Ivoire borders in the region, which was contributing to the smuggling of some unwholesome products into the country.

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