Experts and pharmacists have faulted sections of the proposed Kenya Food and Drugs Authority (KFDB) Bill, 2019 that states that the regulation of food and medicines be merged and controlled by a single body.
The Bill which was tabled by Dr. Robert Pukose, the MP for Endebess Constituency in Trans-Nzoia County is now being scrutinized by the Parliamentary Health Committee following its first reading in parliament.
However, it has received opposition from the Pharmaceuticals Society of Kenya, the Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya, Association of Public Health Officers of Kenya, Kenya Health Professionals Society and Kenya Livestock Marketing Council, the Agricultural Information Network, the Kenya Veterinary Association, the Federation of Kenya Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.
The associations say if passed, it would be a danger and a risk to all Kenyans and urged for its rapid abandonment.
“The bill will repeal CAP 254, which is the Food, Drug, and Chemical Substances Act but does not offer any guideline on how or who will pick up the medical examination of food handlers and licensing of food premises and markets designed to reduce public health risks,” they said in a joint statement.
“It is essential that parliamentarians now consult widely as they examine this regulatory model that is being abandoned in the USA, South Africa, and in Tanzania, because of the harm it has caused to consumers,” said Dr. Louis Machogu, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya.
“But food safety requires experts who have mastered the risks posed by food hazards and understand the requirements necessary to manage them across the entire food chain,” said Andrew Edewa Food Safety Specialist at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
“It is an extremely grave mistake to regulate food and medicines as if they have some common need or crossover and as if the regulation of each requires no knowledge.”
“We believe it is our duty to raise the alarm and ensure that the public and representatives in parliament are not hoodwinked into a collective, non-expert approval process that will surely cost Kenyan lives,” said Dr. Machogu.