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Mugo: Red Cross withheld Unimix tests

POLITICS
By | November 4th 2011

Members of Parliament accused the Government of covering the full extent of exposure to aflatoxin poison caused by distribution of contaminated Unimix products to over 270,000 children in five provinces.

The food was distributed by Kenya Red Cross (KRC) between August and October, under the Kenyans for Kenya crusade. Three consignments were later discovered to be poisonous after being distributed. Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale said KRC Secretary General Abbas Gullet is a director in one of the firms, Sai Millers, that supplied the condemned food.

Public Health Minister Beth Mugo said she does not know whether Gullet is a director in any food processing firm under scrutiny, but added that KRC failed to disclose results of contaminated food to the ministry and Proctor and Allan for three weeks despite receiving laboratory results from the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

Proctor and Allan is one of the three firms that manufactured the Unimix and supplied to KCR for distribution, but when the institution received laboratory results indicating three consignments were poisonous, the organisation failed to share the information with the ministry.

Long term

"Red Cross did not share the results with Proctor and Allan or my ministry. It is Proctor and Allan who notified the ministry of the existence of the contaminated batches when they got their results on October, 12," he added. Dujis MP Aden Barre Duale protested claims by the minister that all the contaminated food has been recalled or that adequate medical tests have been done on affected pupils. "There is a massive cover-up.

There are no public health officers in the affected schools. It is parents who are returning the food to Red Cross," said Duale.

Khalwale challenged the minister to disclose if Abbas is a director of Sai Millers and added that searches in Government documents did not disclose the firm’s owners or directors. The Ikolomani MP, who is also a medical doctor, said the effects of consuming the contaminated food will be seen in the long term.

According to the minister, Kebs, Ana Labs and SGS laboratories carried out routine tests on consignments on August 25.

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