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The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) is a National Standards Body with an overall mandate to promote standardization in industry and trade through standards development, conformity assessment, testing and metrology. It aims at providing standards based solutions that deliver quality and confidence to the consumers.

Biosafety is a concept that refers to measures put in place to mitigate or protect human health and the environment from possible adverse effects of the products of modern biotechnology. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety provides a comprehensive and holistic regime designed to ensure that the development, handling, transport and use of products of modern biotechnology are undertaken in a manner that maximizes benefits while preventing or reducing risks to the environment and human health. The Protocol is a subsidiary agreement to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Kenya signed the Biosafety Protocol in 2000 and fulfilled the ratification requirements in 2003. One of the key obligations expected from the Parties to the Protocol is promotion and facilitation of public awareness, education and participation in biosafety activities as stipulated in article 23. The Biosafety Act 2009 of the Laws of Kenya has established the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) as the competent authority to exercise general supervision and control over the transfer, handling and use of genetically modified organisms with a view to ensuring: safety of human and animal health; and provision of an adequate level of protection of the environment.  The Authority coordinates all activities involving genetically modified organisms and consults with regulatory agencies.  Some of the roles of the Authority include receiving, reviewing and making approval or rejection decisions on applications to introduce biotechnology products for research or commercial purposes into the country based on risk assessment.  Regulatory agencies include Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS), Department of Public Health, Department of Veterinary Services (DVS), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), and Pest Control Products Board (PCPB) among others.

It is recommended that genetically modified organisms and derived products to comply with product specifications, labelling, codes of practice, food safety assessment and credible methods for detection and quantification prescribed by Kenya standards. Kenya standards are complementary to the Biosafety Act 2009 of the laws of Kenya. Titles and scopes of standards are available on KEBS website (www.kebs.org) under quick links (standards catalogue).

Biosafety Issues under KEBS Mandate

  • Development of standards for specifications and codes of practice
  • Inspection and monitoring for conformity to the standards

 Point of Interaction with other Agencies

  • Member of NBA
  • Member of National Food Safety Coordination Committee
  • Secretariatfor Biotechnology Technical Committee (standards development)
  • Secretariat of National Codex Committee

Detection and Screening at Ports of Entry

Inspection and sampling of imports for conformity to standards

Food Safety Assessments
KEBS is involved in the evaluation of food safety assessment data

Biosafety Issues under KEBS Mandate

  • Development of standards for specifications and codes of practice
  • Inspection and monitoring for conformity to the standards

Point of Interaction with other Agencies

  • Member of NBA
  • Member of National Food Safety Coordination Committee
  • Secretariatfor Biotechnology Technical Committee (standards development)
  • Secretariat of National Codex Committee

Detection and Screening at Ports of Entry

Inspection and sampling of imports for conformity to standards

Food Safety Assessments

KEBS is involved in the evaluation of food safety assessment data

 

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