KENYA – In a move to combat the illegal trade of dairy products, the Milimani Magistrates Court in Nairobi has authorized the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to forfeit and dispose of a substantial consignment of contraband milk powder seized in Eastleigh.

This ruling comes after a multi-agency team raid on February 13, 2024, which uncovered various brands of uncustomed milk powder in a building located in Eastleigh Estate, Starehe Sub-County.

The court order permits the forfeiture and disposal of the consignment under sections 215 and 217 (2)(a) of the East African Community Customs Management Act 2004.

The seized products include 250 tins of 2.5kg milk powder, 74 tins of 800gms, 38 tins of 400gms, and an additional 408 tins of another 400 grams milk powder brand.

Following the raid, a trader was arrested and arraigned on February 14, 2024, for possessing contraband milk. The individual later pleaded guilty on April 17, 2024, and was fined Sh235,000.

This legal action aligns with Kenya’s ongoing efforts to formalize the dairy sector, which has traditionally seen around 80% of its milk marketed informally.

According to a 2022 publication from the National Library of Medicine, the informal milk market in Kenya plays a crucial role in providing livelihoods and contributing to the food security and nutrition of low-income consumers.

However, government policy has increasingly focused on formalization, primarily through licensing and pasteurization, with enforcement measures including fines, confiscation of unregulated milk, and closure of premises.

The 2021 Dairy Regulations made the sale of raw milk directly from producers to consumers illegal outside rural areas.

Before these regulations, the Public Health Act of 2012 was widely used to govern the informal dairy sector.

This Act stipulated that milk likely to be contaminated or harmful to health should not be sold. Authorities, citing this Act, have often denied licenses to traders dealing in raw milk, deeming such practices illegal under public health laws.

Earlier this year, the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) issued a stern warning to traders involved in the illicit trade of powdered milk, signaling a crackdown on illegal imports that are jeopardizing the local dairy industry.

With a substantial portion of the market being captured by unauthorized products, the Board is adamant in its commitment to protecting farmers’ interests and upholding consumer safety.

Chairperson of the Kenya Dairy Board, Genesio Mugo, affirmed the government’s unwavering stance against the illegal powdered milk trade during an inspection tour of a local processing plant in Garissa.

Mugo emphasized the absence of permits for importing powdered milk, underlining the imperative to prioritize local dairy products from camels, cows, and goats to bolster the domestic market.

Asserting the importance of supporting homegrown dairy initiatives, Mugo reiterated the Board’s efforts to promote local milk consumption and discourage reliance on imports.

With established entities like the Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) contributing to the powdered milk market, Mugo expressed optimism about the influx of new investors to bridge any existing gaps

Subscribe to our food and agriculture industry email newsletters that provide busy executives like you with the latest news insights and trends from Africa and the World. SUBSCRIBE HERE