Bakers Accused of Tampering With Bread to Defraud Kenyans

  • The Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) has formally received complaints about underweight bread, suggesting that the average consumer is unlikely to get value on bread.

    This comes in the wake of a vibrant discussion online after a consumer claimed a loaf of bread he bought weighed only 339 grammes.

    According to a survey conducted by The Standard, only one in four loaves of bread randomly selected in a city supermarket met the weight indicated on the wrapper.

    While the loaves were found to be generally of the same size, some had bigger air spaces upon inspection, resulting in less overall weight.

    One loaf of bread weighed on a supermarket’s own scale, indicated it was short by a tenth - a 41 grammes - of the 400 grammes shown on the label. The heaviest was just 4 grammes over the specified weight.

    Furthermore, when the nylon packaging estimated at about 5 grammes was removed, none of the loaves sampled weighed the indicated grammes.

    Cofek Secretary General Stephen Mutoro stated that it was a criminal offence on the part of the bakers.

    “It is an unscrupulous way of maximizing profits. It is an unethical and legally actionable offense under Consumer Protection Act, 2012," he stated.

    He further claimed that it was “obvious” that bread sizes were increasingly diminishing.

    “What is not in question is that the size of bread has drastically reduced. We have reported the matter to the Director of Weights and Measures under the Ministry of Trade,” Mutoro divulged.

    In the ministry’s mission statement, manufacturers and traders in pre-packaged commodities are required to mark the accurate statement indicating the correct quantity.

    "Such information would help the consumer make an informed choice of the product they intend to buy," the statement reads.

    Records indicate that in the 1990s, the typical component in Kenyan breakfast had more slices. One loaf of bread could be shared by more people at the breakfast table than today.

    Internationally, the minimum acceptable weight deficiency is 3 per cent, meaning the least the regular 400 gramme loaf should weigh is 388 grammes.