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Has our generous food aid become poisoned chalice?

By | November 2nd 2011

The public dismay and outrage is understandable. The Kenya Red Cross (KRC) has warned that up to 60,000 school children in northern Kenya could have eaten contaminated food in the recent past.

KRC Secretary General Abbas Gullet says tests have shown that some of the food contains traces of the deadly aflatoxin. He wants the pupils to undergo urgent medical check-ups to find out if they have been affected.

Ironically, the food that now threatens the lives of children was meant to do the exact opposite – save them from the jaws of death following a biting famine. The cash to buy the food was raised through the historic Kenyans for Kenya initiative, which raised over Sh0.5 billion.

Our shops

What is most worrying is that the food was sold by leading local food processors, which begs the question: How safe is the food in our shops? Importantly, the saga confirms the level of laxity by both the food manufacturers and the Government.

For heaven’s sake, can the Kenya Bureau of Standards take its job more seriously?

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