After the media exposéd report on unsafe meat being sold to unsuspecting Kenyans, the ministry of Health officials has come out to assure Kenyans that the government is committed to ensuring that food sold to consumers is safe.
Yet, this is not the first time that Kenyans have been told that some of the products that they have been consuming have been discovered to be having some poison.
Last year, for example, the minister for Interior informed Kenyans that the government has discovered that the sugar that was being sold for consumption was at least laced with copper and mercury which is dangerous to humans. This was indeed a government statement and Kenyans saw some form of mock raids to some sugar importing industries while at the same time it was a windfall for the members of our two houses to make quick money by flying from one county to another and also having lengthy parliamentary committee meetings purported to be investigating the poison sugar with claims of huge sitting allowances. Today, Kenyans have never been told of the whereabouts of the copper and mercury sugar that had been impounded and as it is the norm for Kenyans, everyone has forgotten and moved on.
Two weeks from now, the said suspected meat will be back to the supermarket shelves as everyone will have moved on.
It is time the ministry of Health took the issue of safe food seriously. Previously we used to have the officials from public health department investigating some of the food stuffs in the hotels and even the health status of the people selling foodstuffs but nowadays these officials are not seen on the ground.
The food industry appears to be so much unregulated that Kenyans are fed on any manner of food that has been prepared in some of the most unhygienic environments. Take for example the meat which is the current subject matter. In many of the butcheries the butcher handling meat is the same person handling dirty notes and coins that are heavily laced with germs which are eventually passed on to meat consumers. It is time the ministry of Health regulated sale of meat where people handling meat should not be the same person handling money.
Today, the selling of foodstuff that requires a lot more care and storage has been left in the hands of freelance hawkers. One specific example is the selling of yoghurt milk at the Gilgil toll station on Nairobi – Nakuru road by freelance hawkers. This is a busy highway which is often used by our public health officers in their line of duty, one wonders why it has never occurred to them on how and where this hawkers are obtaining yoghurt and in what condition such sensitive milk product is being preserved for many days is a such area with high temperatures. The responsibility has been left to matatu drivers who keep on warning their passengers on the danger of taking such yoghurt and yet we have public health officials and the Kebs who are paid by taxpayers to ensure that such products are not sold to consumers.
The ministry of Health is spending huge sums of the money on water and food contaminated diseases that can easily be prevented by ensuring the safety of food and water that is being consumed.
It is wrong for the ministry of Health which receives a huge allocation of taxpayers’ money to abscond her responsibility and only come up to issue statements after the media has come up with an exposé.
What Kenyans would want to know is where the public officials were responsible for meat licences in the market when people are being sold meat with excessive preservatives chemicals that is harmful unfit human consumption lest it again go the way of the mercury sugar report.