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Monday, 03 July 2017

New Equipment to Boost Safety and Quality of Kenyan Food

Kenyan food is set to be safer than ever after the European Union made available state-of-the art equipment that will enable national food control authorities to test the quality and safety of a wide range of food products. The food testing laboratory equipment was launched by The Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Co-operatives, Adan Mohamed and the EU Ambassador, Stefano Dejak at the Kenya Bureau of Standards headquarters. CS Mohamed said the equipment now available in laboratories at the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) and the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), gives the institutions the necessary tools to enforce and certify compliance with consumer food safety requirements.“The equipment will be used for testing of residues and harmful organisms such as pesticide and veterinary drug residues in foods, toxic elements like lead, arsenic and mercury, disease causing micro-organisms, harmful food additives and mycotoxins (such as aflatoxin). This can happen much faster and at previously undetectable levels.” The equipment was made possible through the Standards and Market Access Programme (SMAP) launched in 2014 through a 12.1 million Euro grant from the EU (Sh 1.4 billion), of which 5,860,885 Euro (Sh 679 million) went into the purchase of the equipment. The CS stressed that the government will ensure the equipment is effectively used to guarantee the continued supply of safe foods not only for the export market but also for domestic consumers. The EU Ambassador Stefano Dejak said the EU supported SMAP to address concerns raised by the national food control institutions regarding the need for a system to minimise the risks and hazards related to agricultural produce from the farm to fork. “The equipment will contribute to increased production and consumption of safer and quality foods which will lead to increased competitiveness of Kenyan products, gain a better position on existing markets such as the 500 million strong EU market and also contribute to opening of new markets regionally and internationally.”

Source: Europe External Action Service