Kenya: Health Ministry Directs County Officials to Inspect Meat Outlets

Nairobi — The Ministry of Health has directed County Public Health officers to carry out inspections in all supermarkets and meat outlets to determine the presence of harmful additives.

The Ministry's directive follows an expose by a local TV station which showed how rogue supermarkets and meat outlets use harmful chemicals to keep meat fresh and last longer, in what could have devastating effects on human beings.

The expose has caused uproar and panic among Kenyans who consume meat and meat products, from supermarkets and other outlets.

The Ministry has also put on notice traders in the food business to ensure strict observance to provisions and requirements of food safety and hygiene practices.

Director General for Health Wekesa Masabi through a statement issued to newsrooms on Tuesday night directed counties to scale up and prioritize implementation of public health measure to ensure safety for all.

"County Public Health departments are directed to heighten surveillance in all supermarkets, butcheries, meat processors and other food business operators. In addition to these measures they are directed to firmly enforce the existing laws," he stated.

The ministry said it had collected samples from various outlets for analysis.

The ministry however, clarified that the chemical Sodium Metabisulfite is a food additive permitted for use in specified food categories.

At the same time, the Kenya veterinary association has urged the government to outlaw the use of chemical preservatives on unprocessed meat, due to lack of clear guidelines and control.

The association said 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.

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

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