KENYA – Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), the government standards agency has approved five new standards aimed to boost the safety and quality of food additives in the market.

The adopted guidelines are aimed to provide a basis to ascertain the quality, purity, and safety of the food additives, which according to KEBS Managing Director, Ltd. Col. (Rtd) Bernard Njiraini, it’s the first step to ensure safe use as guided by the General Standard for Food additives.

“As a matter of fact, the use of food additives in food processing is technologically unavoidable with emphasis on justifiable safe use hence the need to establish quality and safety specification standards. This will facilitate trade while ensuring safe and sufficient food for a growing economy,” says Ltd. Col. (Rtd) Bernard Njiraini.

Demand for food additives has increased within the food industry creating the need for specifications to be formulated for commonly used additives to determine their quality and safety.

“The use of food additives in food processing is technologically unavoidable with emphasis on justifiable safe use hence the need to establish quality and safety specification standards.”

KEBS Managing Director – Ltd. Col. (Rtd) Bernard Njiraini

According to Market Research Future, the global food additives market size is estimated to reach US$ 56.10 billion and record 5.40% CAGR by the end of 2024.

One of the significant factors for the rising growth of the market is the rising demand for convenience food.

Preservatives are key additives in the manufacturing process of convenience food to increase the shelf-life of the products.

Also, the use of non-nutritive sweeteners for special dietary purposes in both foods and beverages (soft drinks) has increased in the recent years resulting in high volumes of their trade.

The newly adopted standards are the first in the priority list for food additives based on volume of use both in Kenya and the East Africa region thus facilitating trade.

The standards provide the criteria to determine the purity, safety and quality parameters for baker’s yeast, sucralose, aspartame, saccharin and baking powder.

“Food additives will also be produced, prepared and handled in accordance with code of practice for hygiene in the food industry which lays emphasis to both Good Manufacturing Practice and use of food safety systems such as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), thus further assuring consumers of the quality and safety of what they consume,” Mr. Njiraini adds.

 It is expected that the regulations will be used by stakeholders in the food industry including Quality assurance departments, industry and laboratories.

Additionally, they will also boost local businesses and the government agenda of increasing manufacturing of local products for economic growth.

KEBS is the premier organization responsible for the provision of standardization, measurement and conformity assessment services in Kenya.

Recently the organization announced new COVID-19 hygiene and safety protocols for food business operators, to guide their undertakings as the fight against the pandemic continues.

The new standard KNWA 2931:2021 provides guidelines on use of personal protective equipment (PPEs), management of staff sickness at premises and physical distancing to curb the spread of the virus.

In addition, the protocols also stipulate the identification of high touch points and good personnel hygienic practices such as hand washing, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and disinfection of work surfaces critical to food business operations.