NAIROBI, KENYA: The food you eat, including fresh fruits and vegetables, may not be as safe as you think
The county agriculture department announced that some of the food making its way into the city from other counties was contaminated by chemical residue.
The county executive for agriculture, livestock, fisheries and forestry, Danvas Makori, on Wednesday announced a ban on contaminated food, citing health risks for city residents.
“We are going to restrict unsafe food from getting into Nairobi by setting standards on safety equal to the EU standards. It is ironical that we export food of high quality, yet our citizens eat sub-standard products,” said Dr Makori.
The official said that apart from vegetables and fruits, contaminated dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, and poultry were also sold in the City.
“We are committed to ensuring city residents consume healthy and safe food. Nairobi County is the biggest consumer market of all the food produced from other counties,” he added.
Makori stated that in order to address the problem, his department would tighten scrutiny of food products making their way into the county. This means suppliers will be required to provide information on the source of their products before they are allowed into markets.
Liasing with counties that supply food to Nairobi such as Laikipia, Machakos, Nakuru, and Kiambu is also at the top the agenda to tame the production and consumption of unsafe foods. Recent studies on food safety say that most fruits and vegetables sold in Kenya contain a cocktail of harmful pesticides and heavy metals that exceed safe levels.
Research has also found that pesticides can cause health problems, including birth defects, nerve damage, and cancer if ingested over a long time. Uninspected and contaminated meat sold in city butcheries and markets has been accused of endangering the lives of millions of Kenyans.
Lack of scrutiny
John Muraya, a resident of South C, said he was concerned about the lack of scrutiny meat in Nairobi and claimed that cat, donkey, and even dog carcasses were being sold to unsuspecting consumers.
“You should be very vigilant about the food you eat, especially food sold by the roadside such as samosa and mutura because you can never be too sure about its ingredients,” he said.
Makori also announced that his department would create employment for youth and women by encouraging them to be involved in agri-business ventures to enhance food security.
“Urban agriculture provides a unique opportunity to youth to earn a decent livelihood by engaging in meaningful income-generating activities in various agricultural value chains,” said Makori.