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KEBS denies reports edible oil imported by KNTC failed to meet health, safety parameters

Wednesday, December 6th, 2023 12:30 | By
KEBS denies reports edible oil imported by KNTC failed to meet health, safety parameters
Edible oil at a manufacturing plant. PHOTO/GEP website

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has denied media reports indicating that a consignment of edible oil imported into the country recently by the Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) was unfit for human consumption.

In a statement on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, KEBS clarified that the consignment met all the health and safety parameters in tests conducted by the agency.

KEBS said the oil was only flagged for failing to meet Vitamin A level parameters, adding that "This is not a health and safety parameter."

"As regards to the edible oil, KEBS sampled, re-inspected and tested the edible oils imported by Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC). From the tests done, the edible oil complied with all the health and safety parameters of the applicable Kenya Standard (KS EAS 769: 2019).

"However, the sampled edible oils did not meet the Vitamin A levels specified in the Kenyan Standard. This is not a health and safety parameter; KEBS communicated the results to KNTC," the statement reads in part.

KEBS assured the general public that the agency is committed to ensuring the safety and quality of all locally manufactured and imported products into the country.

"The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) utilizes Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) to assess the quality of products imported into Kenya. PVoC is a conformity assessment program implemented at the exporting country to guarantee that imported products adhere to the applicable Kenyan Technical Regulations, Mandatory Standards, or approved specifications," KEBS added.

"PVoC ensures that imported products meet the required standards before entering the Kenyan market, safeguarding consumer safety and promoting fair trade practices. KEBS samples and re-inspects products accompanied by Certificates of Conformity (Coes) at the Port of Entry as a routine."

The cooking oil was imported from Malaysia ostensibly to address a shortage that had sparked a sharp increase in retail prices.

According to a section of the local media, KEBS had declared the oil consignment as unfit for human consumption.

The standard body is said to have ordered that the multi-billion consignment be returned to the country of origin within 30 days or be destroyed.

Edible oil scandal

The reports surfaced after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) launched a probe into alleged loss of billions of shillings through the edible oil scheme.

KNTC Managing Director Pamela Mutua was among senior managers arrested last week and whisked to the DCI headquarters on Kiambu Road to shed light on the scandal, where the government is said to have lost a colossal amount of money through inflation of prices of the imported cooking oil.

The sleuths also grilled managers of a local bank that guaranteed the edible oil deal, which cost the taxpayer a whopping Ksh9 billion.

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