Officials impound 256 bags of contaminated rice in Busia

According to the Chief Officer for Health Isaac Omeri, the rice was transported to Busia from Mombasa by a truck. [Courtesy]
At least 256 bags of contaminated rice were seized last month by county health officers.

The rice that is estimated to be worth Sh448,000 was impounded at the Busia Weighbridge.

According to the Chief Officer for Health Isaac Omeri, the rice was transported to Busia from Mombasa by a truck. It was supposed to be stored in a warehouse in Busia town.

Mr Omeri explained that when the rice was seized, samples were taken to the Government Chemist in Nairobi, which certified that it was unfit for consumption. 

Omeri and Deputy Director for Public Health Fred Magoba oversaw the destruction of the rice on Thursday last week.

“The Government Chemist confirmed that the rice had excess moisture, which made it unsafe for human consumption,” said Mr Magoba.

In an interview with The Standard yesterday, Dr Omeri appealed to traders to observe the Food Drugs and Chemicals Substance Act as they carry on with their business.

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He explained that consumption of grains with aflatoxin can cause lung cancer.

“Once moisture enters the rice, it creates aflatoxin which can lead to lung cancer. That is why we destroyed the rice,” said Omeri.

“Our traders must be aware of the effects such toxins have on the lives of consumers. They should keep from selling contaminated foodstuffs.”

No comment

He noted that the “improper manner” in which the rice was transported could have caused the contamination.

The management of Lesphine Investment Limited, the company that was to store the rice in its warehouse, located along the Busia-Kisumu highway, refused to comment on the matter.

According to Omeri, the proliferation of fake goods poses a grave threat to the local industry, which cannot withstand the illegal competition.

At the same time, he added, it could lead to job losses at a time when the country is reeling in an unemployment crisis.

Many economists have linked illicit trade to slow economic growth, poor development of local industries and high unemployment rates.

Illicit trade is also linked to crimes such as bribery, money laundering, terrorism and tax evasion. Fake products also have a low life span.

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Ignatius OdangaContaminated riceBusia WeighbridgeBusia town