Starting on May 1, supermarkets will be required to comply with new regulations that require them to ensure fresh produce, which they buy is tested for higher pesticide residues and other contaminants in a bid to safeguard the welfare of consumers.
This follows establishment of Kenya Standards 1758, which has been developed by stakeholders in the horticulture sector. The rule will now require all vegetables, fruits and beans to be subjected to the same quality standards as those going to export markets before they are placed on the shelves. Under these new standards, the produce will be tested twice for quality at the source and at the supermarket before they are offered to customers.
Supermarkets Naivas and Carrefour have already agreed to be used in the pilot phase before the law takes effect in May. The Fresh Producers Consortium of Kenya (FPC) with other government institutions -including the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis)- will follow up on the matter to ensure compliance.
“We now have standards to enforce the mandatory quality checks to ensure that all fresh produce comply with the minimum required pesticide residues,” Ojepati Okesegere, FPC chief executive officer told mobile.nation.co.ke.
All retailers will have to obtain fresh produce permits from the Directorate of Horticulture. Failure to comply with the requirement on quality will see the licenses of culprits revoked and would have to undergo the process of compliance in order to get their permits back.