KENYA – Kenya’s parliament is considering the Food and Feed Safety Control Bill, which, if approved, will introduce new measures to enhance food safety and consumer protection. 

The government-backed Bill seeks to establish the office of the food safety controller, who will be appointed by the President. 

Its primary objective is to coordinate public institutions involved in food and feed safety, ensuring the safe production, distribution, processing, marketing, and preparation of food for human consumption.

Sponsored by Kimani Ichung’wah, the leader of the majority in the National Assembly, the proposed law aims to safeguard the supply of safe food and feed to consumers. 

Recognizing the critical role of both national and county governments in consumer protection, the Bill emphasizes their responsibility in upholding food safety standards as outlined in the Constitution. 

By establishing the office of the food safety controller, the government aims to strengthen coordination among relevant institutions and enhance oversight of the entire food production and distribution chain.

The Bill includes provisions that would require public food safety institutions to submit annual reports on their measures to ensure food and feed safety to the Office of the Controller. 

This reporting requirement will promote transparency and accountability in the implementation of food safety regulations. 

Additionally, the Controller will be responsible for verifying that these institutions have effective traceability tools to monitor food and feed businesses, further bolstering safety measures.

Amendments and impact on existing legislation

The Food and Feed Safety Control Bill introduces amendments to various existing laws related to public health, the dairy industry, fertilizers, animal foodstuffs, pest control products, meat control, standards, biosafety, plant health, and the Agriculture and Food Authority. 

These amendments will align the legal framework with the establishment of the Office of the Controller and ensure the effective implementation of food safety regulations.

Kenya has a Food Safety Bill which was ratified in 2013, but in 2018 a ministerial task force comprising the Ministries of Health and Agriculture was created to review the Bill and other food safety-related legislation.

At the validation conference held last year, the Former Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Hamadi Boga pointed out that the draft law seeks to ensure that domestic food is also taken care of and that the role of the County Governments and other competent authorities are well stipulated as opposed to the previous food safety laws which placed more emphasis on food meant for export.

“The Bill, if implemented, will ensure consumers get access to safe food and that international trade will not be hindered. Kenya is on the right track in ensuring food safety but there is a need to continually improve especially on streamlining the informal sector which has been a big challenge,” he noted.

Kenya’s efforts to strengthen food safety control highlight the government’s commitment to protecting consumers from potential health risks associated with unsafe food and feed. 

The proposed Bill aims to enhance regulatory mechanisms, improve coordination among relevant institutions, and establish a comprehensive framework for ensuring the safety of the food supply chain.

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