150 closed wa­ter bot­tling firms seek clear­ance, says Kebs boss

Vi­o­la­tions in­clude op­er­at­ing with­out valid per­mits, non­com­pli­ance to re­quire­ments of the rel­e­vant stan­dards, such as the code of hy­giene and us­ing mis­lead­ing la­bels

The Star (Kenya) - - News - WEITERE MWITA @MwitaMartin

About 150 of the 369 wa­ter bot­tling plants which were shut down in May by the Kenya Bu­reau of Stan­dards have so far sought clear­ance to re­sume op­er­a­tions.

Kebs man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Charles Ong­wae said the firms’ sys­tems are be­ing in­spected for com­pli­ance with set stan­dards.

“Out of the 369 we kicked out, 150 have ap­plied for re-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. We are in the process of visit­ing them for in­spec­tion to en­sure that they meet the re­quired stan­dards,” Ong­wae told the Star in an in­ter­view on Thursday.

Nine of them, in­clud­ing Jet­lak (maker of Waba wa­ter), have, how­ever, been cleared.

“Peo­ple are strug­gling to com­ply,” Ong­wae said. “Even those that are cer­ti­fied must ob­serve stan­dards oth­er­wise we will not al­low you to give con­sumers sub­stan­dard goods.”

The stan­dard­i­s­a­tion body has clas­si­fied wa­ter as a high-risk prod­uct due to in­creased il­licit deal­ings, with some bot­tling said to be con­ducted in pri­vate homes.

The Kenya Rev­enue Au­thor­ity said in April that about 60 per cent of wa­ter and juice in cir­cu­la­tion was coun­ter­feit, deny­ing the tax­man un­known sums of money in gov­ern­ment reve- nues. “No one will be al­lowed to trade in any­thing that does not meet the stan­dards,” the Kebs boss warned, flag­ging an­i­mal feeds as an­other high­risk prod­uct in the mar­ket. “We have agreed with man­u­fac­tur­ers of an­i­mal feeds that they meet the spec­i­fied stan­dards.”

Vi­o­la­tions by the wa­ter bot­tling firms in­clude op­er­at­ing with­out valid per­mits from Kebs, non­com­pli­ance to re­quire­ments of the rel­e­vant wa­ter stan­dards such as the code of hy­giene, us­ing sus­pect sources of wa­ter, poor and mis­lead­ing la­belling.

The closed plants were found cul­pa­ble of op­er­at­ing with­out valid per­mits from Kebs, not com­ply­ing with wa­ter pu­rifi­ca­tion stan­dards such as hy- giene, us­ing sus­pect sources of wa­ter, and poor and mis­lead­ing la­bels. The Kenya As­so­ci­a­tion of Man­u­fac­tur­ers CEO Phyl­lis Waki­aga said: “We have al­ways ad­vo­cated for com­pli­ance among all man­u­fac­tur­ers.”

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