, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 16 – Top retailers in the country have rushed to dissociate themselves from an exposé by a local TV station that revealed how rogue supermarkets and meat outlets have been using harmful chemicals to make meat look fresh and last longer.
As various agencies among them Kenya Veterinary Association and the Law Society of Kenya called for action, retail chain Naivas has issued a guarantee that their meat is safe for human consumption.
Hours after the piece was aired, Naivas Chief Commercial Officer Willy Kimani led journalists on a demonstration tour to their Mombasa road based distribution centre where meat is stored and processed for supplying to various outlets.
Kimani has assured Naivas customers on the safety of their meat, adding that the retailer has a state-of-the-art cold room storage facility hence there is no need to use chemicals for preservation.
“We do not condone or encourage the use of any chemical substances to preserve the meat sold in our butcheries across all our 53 stores,” he asserted.
Kimani said the retailer has invested heavily to ensure that they have a cold room in all their outlets, and a fleet of cold transport trucks to ensure that all their meat is maintained at the right temperature to ensure quality.
He further called upon government agencies dealing with inspection and assurance of fresh foods to increase vigilance, and act on outlets that do not adhere to the set standards thus tainting the image of the meat industry.
Following the expose, 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.
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 was highlighted in a recent television exposé is widely used in meat selling outlets has a residue limit of 500p.p.m (parts per million).
The vets want the national government to conduct an urgent audit on all the slaughterhouse facilities across the country and ensure that each has a meat inspector.
The Ministry of Health has also directed County Governments to scale up and prioritize the implementation of health measures that are aimed at safeguarding the public health safety.
Food business operators have also been put on the spot to observe the provisions and requirements of food safety and hygiene practices to ensure safety of the consumer, failure to which a legal action will be taken against anybody found contravening the law.