In a recent development, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has raised significant quality concerns regarding government-imported edible oils, prompting decisive action against non-compliant consignments.
In a letter dated 5th September, addressed to the Managing Director of the Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC), KEBS issued a stern directive after subjecting specific consignments to rigorous testing against the Kenya Standardization Specification for Fortified Edible Oils and Fats.
The results of the examination revealed alarming discrepancies in Vitamin A content and insoluble impurities.
The affected consignments, namely entry numbers 23MBAIM402473344, 23MBAIM403321628, and 23MBAIM403235943, have been unequivocally rejected.
"Kenya Bureau of Standards subjected consignments entry number 23MBAIM402473344, 23MBAIM403321628, and 23MBAIM403235943 to test against the Kenya Standardization Specification for Fortified Edible Oils and Fats," KEBS stated.
"The results established that the consignments failed to comply in Vitamin A and Insoluble Impurities."
The importer has been advised to reship the non-compliant goods back to the country of origin within 30 days, failing which they will be destroyed at the importer's expense.
"The consignments have been rejected and the importer is hereby advised to reship them back to the country of origin within 30 days from the date of this letter, failure to which they shall be destroyed at the importer’s cost," KEBS letter read.
The detailed analysis by KEBS uncovered deviations from the required standards in multiple parameters.
Vitamin A content fell short by 0.47 per cent by mass, measuring 99.97 instead of the mandated 99.5.
Notably, moisture and volatile matter at 105°C registered at 0.03, below the stipulated standard of 0.2.
In terms of acidity, the acid value of the edible oils measured 0.12 milligrams of potassium hydroxide, significantly lower than the required standard of 0.6.
Similarly, the amount of peroxide oxygen per kilogram of oil stood at 5.42, contrasting with the mandated 10. Furthermore, the imported oil contained 0.04 insoluble impurities, slightly above the acceptable standard of 0.05.
Curiously, the KEBS examination, conducted in July, raised questions about why consignments shipped in before July were not subjected to similar laboratory tests.
Additionally, the fate of the non-compliant oil, slated for destruction as per the KEBS letter, remains uncertain.
The controversy deepens as it appears that not all consignments were subject to the rigorous scrutiny outlined by KEBS.
An additional anomaly emerged concerning consignment number 23MBAIM402747001, exported by Multi Commerce FZC registered in Sharjah, UAE, which was not subjected to the rigorous tests that others underwent.
This revelation comes amid the controversy surrounding the importation of 125,000 MT of Edible Oil intended to ostensibly alleviate the cost of living.
Instead, it has been disclosed that the consignment's price was inflated, rendering it uncompetitive.