Bread Manufacturers in the Country have been ordered to henceforth be providing a list of ingredients and the net weight of their products in grams and ensure compliance on all requirements.
According to the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), the manufacturers have been disregarding guidelines pertaining to nutrients and weight of their products among others.
This follows the Authority’s finalizing investigations targeting bread manufacturers in Kenya and thus issuing orders against those found not to have adhered to provisions of the Competition Act and other relevant Standards.
In a statement released on Monday and issuing remedial orders to the bread manufacturers, the Authority’s Director-General, Wang’ombe Kariuki, said manufacturers should also be able to print the day and month the product was manufactured on the wrapper and also indicate the expiry date of the bread by adjusting the information on the wrappers to “Best Before” as opposed to “Sell By”.
“The Authority finalized investigations targeting bread manufacturers in Kenya and discovered that they have been falsely and misleading representations to consumers of goods and services in contravention of section 55(a)(i) of the Competition Act”, Wang’ombe said.
Specifically, the Director General explained that the undertakings were not providing the manufacturing date/month on their bread wrappers in the prescribed format while others were printing them illegibly on the seals. In other cases, the manufacturers omitted the applicable month in the expiry dates.
Additionally, he noted that the manufacturers failed to provide the weight of their bread products and ingredients, while others marketed their bread as fortified but did not specify the alleged nutrients/vitamins used.
“Some brands even misled consumers that their products contained milk or butter whereas they did not”, Wang’ombe said adding that for the manufacturers not adhering to product information standards as prescribed by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) was contrary to section 60(1) of the Competition Act.
Consumers’ rights, he noted, are provided for under the Constitution of Kenya and also within the Competition Act and therefore manufacturers have no latitude to elect which laws to adhere to.
Whereas no harm to consumers has been recorded due to the aforementioned contraventions, Wang’ombe added that, consumers have absolute rights to full and accurate information about goods or services offered in the markets.
According to the DG, the Authority shall continuously undertake spot-checks to establish compliance with all the directives given, Monday , and he has called upon all consumers to also report any cases of non-compliance to the Authority through email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Consumers can also lodge their complaints through our E-Filing Portal which is accessible via https://competition.cak.go.ke:444/ “, Wang’ombe said.
The Competition Authority of Kenya (the Authority) is established by section 7 of the Competition Act No. 12 of 2010 (the Act) with the mandates to enforce and also enhance the welfare of the people of Kenya by protecting consumers from unfair and misleading market conduct, promoting effective competition in markets, and sanctioning abuse of buyer power, among others.
By Wangari Ndirangu