Kenya: Vets Urge Govt to Establish Guidelines for Use of Preservatives on Unprocessed Meat

Nairobi — The Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA) is now urging the government to outlaw the use of chemical preservatives on unprocessed meat, due to lack of clear guidelines and control.

The association on Monday said the lack of clear guidelines had made it more likely for outlets selling meat to exceed the Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) thus rendering the meat unfit for human consumption.

KVA Chairman Samuel Kahariri said the use of chemical preservatives on fresh meat adversely affects unsuspecting customers who may suffer health complications.

This is because the amounts used in butcheries and meat outlets are just mere estimations posing a risk of exceeding maximum levels and consequently compromise human health.

"The chemical preservatives on meat are used on supposedly fresh meat and therefore fed to unsuspecting customers who may suffer varying health complications. We therefore, request the government to immediately outlaw any use of the chemical preservatives in all the meat outlets that are not involved in processing and packaging," he said.

In cases where chemical preservatives are used, the veterinary officers say the products must be clearly labeled, and amounts used indicated, so as to enable the consumers to make informed decisions and choices.

According to specialists, sodium metabisulphite which according to a recent television exposé is widely used in meat selling outlets has residue limit of 500p.p.m (parts per million).

The vets have also called upon the national government to conduct an urgent audit on all the slaughterhouse facilities across the country and ensure that each has a meat inspector.

Following devolution of local abattoirs, the vet officers argue there has been laxity in the management of the facilities with the professionals being denied independent judgment hence contributing to lapse in public health standards.

"In cases where it may not be possible to employ a veterinary doctor or a veterinary paraprofessional, we urge the government to cause immediate closure of such facilities to curb the rise in the meat adulteration and uphold public health."

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