Kenya: LSK Demands Probe on Unregulated Use of Preservatives in Meat Products

A butcher slices a piece of meat in butchery (file photo).

Nairobi — The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has called for an investigation and prompt action against supermarkets, butcheries and abattoirs found to be risking the health of consumers by using harmful chemicals to preserve meat products they sell.

In a statement on Tuesday, Chief Executive Officer Mercy Wambua said Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) needs to continuously monitor products and services produced or offered in the country to ensure they conform to the set standards.

"The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), established under the Standards Act, has a core mandate under Section 4 (1) (b) to make arrangements or provide facilities for the examination and testing of commodities and any material or substance from or with which and the manner in which they may be manufactured, produced, processed or treated," read a part of the statement.

"Section 10 of the Standards Act, provides for standardization marks for locally produced and imported goods being consumed in the Country. To acquire the mark, manufactured goods are expected to meet quality requirements as specified in the various Kenya/Approved Standards. A permit to use standardization mark is issued to certify that a particular product conforms to requirements in a Standard."

She further indicated that sale of meat laced with preservatives by supermarkets and any other outlets is illegal, unconstitutional and gravely endangers lives of the members of the public.

LSK was responding to reports that some supermarkets have been using sodium metabisulphite to preserve meat products.

The chemical, with a permissible residue limit of 500p.p.m (parts per million) is believed to have been used in quantities exceeding Maximum Residue Limit (MRL).

Given the magnitude of the issue, Wambua called on the Director of Criminal Investigation to take the necessary action to the culprits.

"Failure by designated public officials to undertake their statutory duty is a criminal offence and therefore, the Director of Criminal Investigations should take great interest in it. Prosecute and publish the names of any persons engaged in the sale of unwholesome, poisonous, adulterated foods or food and ensure that their licenses," she said in the statement.

Wambua was reacting to an exposé which aired on NTV showing how supermarkets across the country are using sodium metabisulphite to preserve meat for sale in their butchery sections.

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