KEBS suspends 369 bottled water licences


11 May 2016 | by
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KEBS suspends 369 bottled water licences

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has suspended permits to use the KEBS marks of quality on their products for 369 water bottling firms which have violated the water standards.

The suspension comes in the wake of complaints from consumers on the quality of bottled water in the market. Speaking during the a meeting attended by over four hundred (400) water manufacturing firms in Kenya, 

KEBS permits have been withdrawn in accordance with the Standards Act CAP 496 of the Laws of Kenya and KEBS scheme of supervision and control.

Some of the violations include companies 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 standards body Managing Director, Charles Ongwae, said there has been an upsurge of unscrupulous water bottling firms which are not adhering to the laid down standards and procedures.

The KEBS Managing Director informed the suspended permit holders that KEBS is committed to work with them to achieve the required standards as a condition to recertification.

Mr. Ongwae said water being a high risk product, there is an urgent need to ensure compliance to all regulations by the bottlers. 

The sector has been infiltrated by fraudulent players who are bottling substandard water and selling it to unsuspecting consumers. 

“Water is listed as a high risk commodity and a slight contamination can lead to sickness or even loss of life,” added Ongwae.

Some of the key challenges are as facing the bottled water sector include;

       Manufactures installing filtration systems without first seeking information on the requirements set out in standards.  This includes;

       Quality of the source water

       Specifications for water

       Code of hygiene

       Operating companies relocating and not informing KEBS of the new location.

       Lack of willingness to renew the permits on time

       Manufacturers using similar brand names without registering with KIPI

       Manufacturer’s not identifying known suppliers of water treatment equipment hence purchasing equipment that are not efficient for water treatment.

       Manufacturers making labels with Standardization mark that have not been issued to them by KEBS.

The water bottling business is guided by the Kenya Standards/East Africa standards for bottled water whereby the water classification is determined by the source of the water and the method of purification.

“KEBS wishes to ensure Kenyans receive value for their money by weeding out some of the unscrupulous dealers who are not adhering to standards when bottling water,” said Ongwae.


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