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
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.”