Stop playing Russian roulette with our lives

It appears there are government officials who don’t care a hoot about people’s lives. They seem determined to mint money for private businesses at the cost of the health of the public.

How else can one explain the decision by Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) to release a shipment of 23,000 metric tonnes of ginger that had been declared unfit for human consumption by port health officials?

The health officials ordered that the consignment from Vietnam be destroyed following advice from the Government Chemist.

But in a shocking move, Kebs gave the ginger a clean bill of health and went ahead to release the cargo to the importer.

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The Government Chemist’s analysis is said to have concluded that the ginger was “moist, mouldy, was rotting and emitting a pungent smell”.

Something, of course, smells fishy here.

Kebs argues that the port’s public health officials had no business intervening over raw materials imported by Export Processing Zone (EPZ). But although EPZ manufactures goods for export, every effort must be made to ensure that such products meet the highest possible standards. This means no one should ever allow “moist, mouldy, rotting” ginger import anywhere in Kenya, including at the EPZ.

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Unfortunately, this is not the first time that suspect foods are being released to the public. Only a week ago, police reportedly recovered 5,000 bags of sugar, suspected to have been contaminated with mercury, that had been stolen from a godown in Mombasa.

Clearly, our lives are at stake. The Government should quickly crack the whip on its corrupt officers and those sleeping at the wheel to save us from toxic foods.

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Kenya Bureau of StandardsPublic Healthhealth