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Antibiotic-free chicken talk a warning to regulators

A Burger King restaurant. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A Burger King restaurant. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Earlier this year, Restaurant Brands International which owns Burger King announced that it would switch to chicken raised without antibiotics in its United States outlets and Canada stores.

But in response to an inquiry made by the Business Daily, the company noted that those rules did not apply to operations in its Burger Chef restaurant based in Kenya.

This caused uproar on social media with many Kenyans expressing their displeasure with the statement.

Stephen Mutoro, secretary-general of the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) told the Business Daily that the unfortunate incident served as a wake-up call for the country to “put its act together.”

He noted that the Kenya needs an effective legal framework that guards against misuse of antibiotics and prevents companies from selling harmful products to consumers.”

The abuse of the drugs for disease prevention and growth promotion in livestock has contributed to the rise of hard to treat human infections caused by drug resistant bacteria.

Mr Mutoro said laws governing food safety in Kenya are currently scattered in various government institutions such as the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries as well as the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

“This makes their implementation and enforcement difficult.” He said that the Cofek has been pushing for the creation of a Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) such as the one in the US that will aggregate all those laws and become a strong body that can effectively tackle food safety issues in the country.

Mutoro further noted that there has been a general lack of political good will and complacency by relevant regulatory bodies to effectively enforce existing laws.

According to the consumer protection act, the public has a right to all necessary information pertaining to products they consume.

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