The Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) on Tuesday said the list of contaminated milk products it published last week was mainly targeted at imitations of genuine brands, whose origins are not known.
Acting KDB managing director Humphrey Maina said the counterfeiters had devised new ways of imitating licensed products and branding them in names and colours that easily pass as genuine brands in the marketplace.
Mr Maina was responding to protests from traders of the named products who accused the dairy board of destroying their businesses with the publication of the report despite the fact that they had permits issued by the regulator allowing importation and sale of the products.
French dairy giant Danone had protested the listing of its popular Cow and Gate powdered bay milk in the dairy board’s report despite having been licensed to import and sell the product in the Kenyan market.
The KDB has licensed Danone to import the product from Europe for sale in the local market, but the dairy board said traders in suspect brands named Cow Gate had indicated the origin as United Arab Emirates.
“We are dealing with two scenarios here where some suppliers entrusted by genuine companies to distribute their brands are colluding with fake manufacturers to come up with false products for their own benefit themselves,” Mr Maina said adding that independent counterfeiters were also using porous borders to import unlicensed products from external markets.
“We identified a total of 10 brands selling locally and labelled to show that they originated from United Arab Emirates a country that does not export such products,” the KDB report says.
Mr Maina said the market surveillance was initiated after the regulator received numerous complaints on the sale of milk powder whose origins were unknown.
READ: Dairy board issues alert over the sale of contaminated milk
The KDB report said some of the imported milk powder with adulterants such as melamine, heavy metals such as lead and radioactive materials had got into local supermarkets and were being sold to consumers.
“Some of these brands cannot be traced, verified or tied to any of the permits the board issued in the recent past.
“This is the reason the board has embarked on removing these products from the retail market and to prefer charges against the traders,” Mr Maina said in a statement adding that the quality and safety of such products could not be verified.
The regulator named unregistered importers as Ruiru-based Alidi Kenya Limited, Safacom Trading Company, RH Devani Company, Jacky’s Kenya, and Roza Kind East Africa.