The use of controlled chemicals to preserve foods such as beef and milk has been rising in Kenya and reported by the media, including by NTV Kenya’s investigative feature on how rogue traders and supermarkets are using Sodium Metabisulfite to keep meat looking fresh. Indeed, consumer investigations have revealed a myriad of illegal additives and chemicals now going into foodstuffs sold in our local markets.
Yet, even as it becomes a top priority to ensure the full enforcement of the country’s chemicals and food regulations, a private member of parliament has introduced a Kenya Food and Drugs Authority (KFDA) Bill that will fragment the country’s food regulations and raise severe additional dangers in regulating our food safety.
The bill is currently with the parliamentary committee of health for review ahead of its second reading.
Prof Andrew Edewa, Food Safety Specialist at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), is available to respond the questions on food safety and regulation in the country.
Key issue arising
- Kenya is looking at merging of food and drugs regulations as other leading economies are moving away from this model e.g. Tanzania, South Africa and USA (FDA). The US has stated explicitly that the FDA’s remit was undermining and compromising food safety for consumers.
- Food safety requires experts who have mastered the risks posed by food hazards and understand the requirements necessary to manage them across the entire food chain.
- The private member’s bill will also remove County responsibility for ensuring the safety of food traders, in breach of the constitution.