NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – 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.
Some of these 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.
Among the suspended brands include Sparkle Natural clean water, The Village Springs, Mountain Mist, Amira , Mua Hills, Oasis Drop, Aqua Time, Meridian Mist, among others.
The suspension comes in the wake of complaints from consumers on the quality of bottled water which has been in the market.
KEBS 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.
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,” he said.
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,” he added.
The key challenge has been 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 and lack of willingness to renew the permits on time.
Others include manufacturer’s not identifying known suppliers of water treatment equipment hence purchasing equipment that are not efficient for water treatment as well as manufacturers making labels with standardization mark that have not been issued to them by KEBS.