•Consumer report has shown producers, hawkers or mobile traders and milk bars are the main suppliers of raw milk to consumers in the rural and peri-urban areas
•Say there is need for consumers to be aware of what they are buying as well as what the informal vendors are selling
Consumer organisations have called on the Kenya Dairy Board and other controlling agencies to conduct high level training and certification of milk vendors and marketing channels.
The organizations under the Consumer Voice of Kenya and Voice for Change Initiative have been holding public forums across the country to sensitize consumers and area residents on the safety of milk and other foodstuffs.
SNV-Kenya through their support to Consumer Unity and Trust Society Nairobi has been facilitating this process under the Voice 4 Change.
The organizations have raised concerns of adulteration of milk using water, chemicals, margarine and wheat flour to change colour and increase quantities for sale in the market.
“Weak monitoring and surveillance systems at the domestic level and the lack of traceability systems are undermining accountability efforts being put in place on food safety sector,” CDA Executive Director Japheth Ogutu said.
The networks include Consumer Downtown Association, Consumer Unity and Trust Society, CIN, Kenya Consumer Organization and Consumer Grassroots Association, also in coalition with public health officers, Kenya Dairy Board, Kenya Bureau of Standards among other representatives.
The consumer organizations have since conducted a research on status of food safety in Kenya and presented the findings to relevant government agencies.
Through a report launched late last year in Kajiado county, various stakeholders present including Livestock Directorate from Kajiado County, public health officers from Ministry of Health and Kenya Dairy board appreciated the efforts made so far in promoting food safety in Kenya.
According to status of food safety reports and other evidence based document developed so far under the Voice 4 Change programme, it is clear that low-income household holds the largest category in the Kenyan pyramid in terms of milk consumption volumes.
“There is need for consumers to be aware of what they are buying as well as what the informal vendors are selling,” Ogutu noted.
However, the report further indicates that there is no general fact that the higher-priced or processed is safer and of better quality compared to raw (pasteurised) milk.
The consumer report has shown producers, hawkers or mobile traders and milk bars are the main suppliers of raw milk to consumers in the rural and peri-urban areas.
“If low-income consumers are forced to shift from raw milk (low price) and purchase packaged or processed which is highly-priced this may decline their consumption, hence the need to ensure the quality of what they can afford,” he emphasised.
Ogutu said that the purchase of pasteurized milk from vending machines or ATMs is also increasing importance among low and middle-income consumers due to its lower price and it’s expected to become the first stop for buyers the product.
This is as they are installed in supermarkets.