City Hall has ordered all illegal slaughterhouses to be shut down within 60 days.
The directive comes amid fears that city residents have been consuming uninspected meat.
The agriculture county executive, Danvas Makori, yesterday observed that unlicensed abattoirs, especially in Kiamaiko and Burma markets, posed numerous health risks to Nairobians and ordered their immediate closure. He said that with such slaughterhouses, he could not guarantee that the food consumed by city residents was safe.
“We have numerous illegal blocks especially in Kiamaiko and Burma and we are giving notice that all those enterprises should be closed down. The slaughterhouses also do not meet the required operation standards and the meat they sell is not inspected,” he stated.
The agriculture boss said those operating at Kiamaiko should move to the Neema slaughterhouse at Lucky Summer.
Makori, who was speaking during an inspection of the Neema slaughterhouse, said the facility was spacious and well equipped and could not only accommodate many operators, but could also process the meat produced at Kiamaiko.
“This facility was originally set up so that the slaughterhouses in Kiamaiko can be moved here, but most of the owners did not comply so that they could continue operating illegally,” added Makori.
He admitted that Nairobians could be consuming unsafe meat because of shortage of meat inspectors. The city has only 31 inspectors, most of whom are set to retire in the next three years.
The situation was worsened by the fact that there were only four veterinary officers mandated to oversee 21 abattoirs across the city.
A spot check by Metropolitan showed that City Hall’s veterinary department did not have a vehicle to aid in inspecting the slaughterhouses.
Another 20 inspectors and five veterinary officers are required if the county is to ensure the meat consumed is safe.
Currently, only three abattoirs - Quality Meat Packers, Farmers Choice, and the Neema slaughterhouses in Lucky Summer - meet the required operating standards.
There is no veterinary officer attached to Kiamaiko but there are five meat inspectors stationed there.
Quality Meat Packers has one veterinary officer and three meat inspectors while Farmers Choice has six meat inspectors and two veterinary officers. Burma has four meat inspectors but no veterinary officer.
“We have tried to close the Kiamaiko slaughterhouses twice now, but politicians are always interfering with the process. The owners are also very hostile to inspectors but this time we will not relent,” added Makori.
The Neema slaughterhouse operations manager, Waweru Kamau, faulted the operations at Kiaimaiko and Burma, saying they were located in residential areas and maintained poor hygiene standards. He was once a manager there.
He welcomed the decision to move the operations to Neema slaughterhouse.
“By virtue of operating in a residential area they are not able to put up quality structures to ensure that the meat consumed is hygienic,” Mr Kamau said.
He observed that the Neema slaughterhouses processed 300 tonnes of meat a month with 270 tonnes being exported to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and soon to Saudi Arabia.