State's lab confirm sulphite chemical in meat as CS orders closure of outlets

Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki (pictured) has confirmed that some meat samples from sellers have toxic chemicals. [File, Standard]

The Ministry of Health has confirmed existence of sodium metabisulphite in beef products sold by retailers to unsuspecting Kenyans.

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki yesterday said from the samples collected and tested in Government laboratories, 15 per cent fell short of the set standards content of the chemical.

The CS, however, did not reveal the names of the retailers, only issuing a blanket order.

“I have instructed that all the facilities whose products have fallen short should be closed and legal action taken,” said the CS.

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While the chemical is approved as a food additive, the CS noted that there had been a misuse of it to an extent the tests conducted at the National Public Health Laboratories found unhealthy content of the chemical in meat and meat products.

The chemical, commonly referred to as sulphite, can cause allergic reactions in those who are sensitive to sulphites, including respiratory reactions in asthmatics, anaphylaxis, and other allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

The samples tested at the Government laboratories were collected from food processors, food vendors and butcheries, supermarkets and other food business operators.

“Next week I have called a meeting with County Health Authorities to evaluate the result of the surveillance and generate a credible action plan to prevent future contravention,” the CS said at the inauguration of boards for the Nursing Council of Kenya and the Kenya Nutritional and Dietetics Institute.

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Ministry of HealthSicily KariukiMeat productsSulphites