NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 18 – Kenya has had its fair share of people losing lives through consumption of illegal brews.
The trend may be reversed if a set of recommendations from a report on control of potable spirits and combating illicit brews launched on Wednesday is fully implemented.
The report by an inter-agency taskforce recommends that the government close 115 spirits manufacturing firms that failed to meet the set standards and their licenses withdrawn.
“The firms are recommended to close down their operations because they did not meet the statutory requirements,” Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery said Wednesday.
The report further indicated that 41 manufacturing firms were not traced in the registered locations saying their licenses will also be cancelled forthwith.
“Twenty one manufacturing firms were found to have complied with most of the statutory requirements. These firms are given 60 days within when they shall address all areas of new conformity before resuming operations,” he asserted.
“Clearance will further be subject to tax compliance and outcome of product sample test.”
A National Standard for the manufacture of alcoholic drinks will be developed and gazetted within 60 days.
In order to ensure protection of the public, he directed all firms to secure their brands from being counterfeited and label their products in accordance with the National Standard regulating packaging and labelling of pre-packaged foods.
In addition, all alcoholic drink product labels should specify contact details of the respective manufacturers including their physical location, telephone and email contacts.
Manufacturers located within residential areas at least 300 meters from any nursery, primary, secondary or other learning institutions for persons under the age of 18 years should cease operations.
All alcoholic drinks manufacturing firms should have strategically placed standard signage indicating their location.
The containers in which neutral spirit is packaged for storage or transport shall be marked in accordance with the provisions of Kenya Standard for Neutral Spirit KS EAS 144.
Manufacturers located within residential areas and have a valid change of user certificate should relocate to industrial zoned areas within 90 days.
Nkaissery lamented that production of alcoholic beverages without sufficient regulation, “has led to introduction of poisons products and counterfeited drinks.”
The inter agency taskforce, formed on July 10 undertook the inspection exercise between August 4 to 14 targeting 177 firms.
Below is the full list of the firms.