Food safety and quality management in Kenya: An overview of the roles played by various stakeholders
AbstractThis review focuses on highlighting the roles played by some stakeholders to ascertain food safety and quality from the farm to the fork in Kenya and the legislations under which they operate. Necessary recommendations to strengthen the weak links along the food supply chain have also been made. Food is considered to be safe if there is reasonable demonstrated certainty that no harm will result from its consumption under anticipated conditions of use. In Kenya, the responsibility for coordinating the multiple institutions (agencies) involved in food safety management rests on the Department of Public Health (DPH) under the Ministry of Public Health
and Sanitation. The basic Kenyan laws for food safety enforced by DPH include the Food, Drugs and Substances Act, Chapter 254, the Public Health Act, Chapter 242 and the Meat Control Act, Chapter 316. Food-borne diseases are still a major problem in Kenya because of the enormous informal sector in the food industry accounting for at least 80% of the supply to the domestic markets where hygiene controls are
rudimentary. Most Kenyan standards are adopted from international ones, such as International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). In the food supply chain, farmers have to apply Good Agricultural Practices, sellers of commodities/raw materials at local or international level have to apply Good Distribution Practices, and manufacturers have to apply Good Manufacturing Practices. Food supply chain operators have to apply either national (mandatory) standards or private (voluntary) standards. Chain supporters provide the necessary impetus while chain enablers provide the control and/or regulation. Kenya Bureau of Standards is the major chain enabler. It is the National
Codex Contact Point, serves as the secretariat of the National Codex Committee, and is the National Enquiry Point of the WTO. Despite the existing legal framework for food safety and quality controls, some processed food products in the Kenyan market are of sub-standard quality. The informal sector must be keenly monitored by the food safety agencies to uphold the application of HACCP and fair trade since it is the major supplier of food products to the domestic markets. Safety and quality
management in the food supply chain has cost implications and income is a limiting factor for all the stakeholders and the success of food safety management system. Poverty alleviation would stimulate the purchasing power of domestic consumers, consequently promoting hygiene-based demand instead of price-based demand for food.
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