Jun. 6, 2008
The Kenyan pesticide authorities aim to improve controls on pesticides in fruit and vegetables for export following a call for action from the European Commission's Food and Veterinary Office (FVO). Kenyan exporters are to submit samples for pesticide residue analysis or results of such analyses from “approved” laboratories. The country’s Agricultural Produce (Export) Act has been reviewed and is awaiting Ministerial consent.
The Kenyan Plant Health Inspection Service (KEPHIS) says the Act is crucial. “That would provide the legal basis for enforcement of the requirement,” it says. Kenya is “continuing to implement official controls on pesticide residues and plans to initiate a monitoring plan on produce for residue levels”, the Service adds.
KEPHIS has started a “method evaluation to broaden the scope of analytes sought”. The FVO recommended it continue the implementation of quality control schemes in the official pesticide residue laboratory. It is accredited to ISO 17025 but analytical data are insufficiently controlled and the scope is too small, the FVO found. However, the equipment would allow a substantial improvement with further staff training. The Kenyan authorities will also use results from analyses carried out in other laboratories submitted to KEPHIS “to aid decision-making” on pesticide residue levels.
The FVO found that exporters operate self-control systems on residues and “co-operate intensively” with the competent authorities, but there is no official control system. The EU-funded Pesticides Initiative Programme has provided “substantial” support for training and exporters’ capacity building. The FVO praised the recent comprehensive follow-up to an EU rapid alert notification on residues in passion fruit.
Concern over residues in EU-bound produce is partly due to several active ingredients being used in products in Kenya that cannot be marketed in the EU. The FVO also noted poor labelling on products and insufficient checks at retail and wholesale points. Kenya was the second-largest exporter of fruit to the EU in 2005, accounting for 20% of EU imports. The report followed an FVO final mission in November last year.