Supermarket bosses face arrest and prosecution over toxic meat

July 18, 2019 8:53 pm
Beef displayed at Naivas Supermarket, which has suspended the business over an ongoing government investigation. Photo/MOSES MUOKI.

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 18 – Arrests and prosecutions have been ordered on officials of supermarkets and other meat outlets whose stock were found to have toxic chemicals with levels unfit for human consumption.

This follows tests conducted on samples collected from supermarkets and other outlets in Nairobi and Machakos counties.

“I have directed the joint teams from the Ministry of Health and Nairobi and Machakos counties to close and seize all meat products from the affected retail outlets,” said Sicily Kariuki, the Health Cabinet Secretary who ordered the tests following an expose by NTV that revealed that unscrupulous traders have been using Sodium Metabisulfite to preserve meat products with the aim of keeping them looking fresh for long.

“Individuals behind this will be charged in court,” she said, as Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua ordered the closure of meat sections of Naivas supermarkets in the county.

“The butchery sections will remain closed until given an okay to open by my Government’s public health department,” Mutua said.

In Nairobi, similar action was also taken, with Naivas and other outlets choosing to empty shelves in the meat section following the impending crackdown.

Empty supermarket shelves following the government crackdown on toxic meet. Photo/COURTESY.

On Thursday night, the retailer announced that it had suspended the sale of red meat across all its stores to pave way for an investigation.

“We will only be selling white meat for now in all our butcheries,” said Willy Kimani, the supermarket chain’s Chief Commercial Officer.

Kimani further said they intend to initiate legal action against anybody found to have supplied contaminated meat to the Naivas.

Willie Kimani of Naivas Supermarket showcasing their products to journalists. Photo/MOSES MUOKI.

In Machakos for instance, samples taken from the supermarket had 3,286 milligrams of an additive that should not be used in meat according to the area Governor Mutua.

But Kimani insists “Naivas does not use or condone the use of any chemical preservatives for meat products.”
The government has since directed an investigation on all slaughterhouses and retailers following the TV expose.
“So far, 15 percent of the samples taken have fallen short of the standard of permitted Sodium Metabisulphite. The offenders will face the law,” CS Kariuki tweeted.

NTV’s Investigative journalist Dennis Okari said his investigation showed meat samples from the supermarkets had chemical residue exceeding a permissible residue limit of 500p.p.m (parts per million).

The Law Society of Kenya and thee Kenya Veterinary Association have called for tough action against those found guilty of putting people’s lives at risk.

The veterinary association further urged the government to outlaw the use of chemical preservatives on unprocessed meat, due to lack of clear guidelines and control.

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