The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has approved new analytical test methods for measuring levels of lactose in milk and milk products being sold in the market.
The new guidelines are among 35 food standards, test methods, codes of practice and guidelines approved by the National Standards Council (NSC) to strengthen food safety and quality in the country.
“Food is the anchor that sustains human life. Ensuring its safety has increasingly become crucial. Food standards ensure food quality and safety to final consumers throughout the supply chain, from preparation of raw materials, production and distribution to the market,” said Kebs Managing Director Bernard Njiraini.
“Lactose is the most abundant type of sugar or carbohydrate in milk and milk products that can be difficult for some people to digest and is normally hydrolyzed during digestion by the enzyme lactase-phlorizin hydrolase. People deficient in this enzyme can experience gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, cramps, bloating and diarrhea.”
Research has shown approximately 68 per cent of the global human population are lactose intolerant with the problem affecting 63 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa and 39 per cent in Kenya.
Under the new guidelines, manufacturers are required to ensure that their products are safe for consumption and have all milk products labelled either as containing lactose or being lactose-free or having lactose levels that meet the minimum thresholds.
Other food standards that prescribe pre-processing methods and other requirements that can enable the producers including the SMEs to add value to their products and to avoid post-harvest losses and other losses have also been adopted.
It is expected that these new standards will increase the competitiveness in the market by providing higher quality products and promoting lower prices through technological innovations.