The Nairobi County has banned all food hawking businesses saying they pose as health risk to residents.
Public health officers have also been called upon to ensure they inspect all food handling businesses in the city, including five-star hotels, and close them down if found to be substandard.
Many food hawkers sell samosas, fish, mutura, roasted maize, chips, omena among others, which is likely to cause a cholera outbreak at a time when the city is experiencing a water shortage.
Speaking to the Nation, county health executive Bernard Muia said the number of food hawkers without proper licences have increased at an alarming rate.
He said public health officers have been ordered not to allow food hawkers to sell food in the city.
Those found hawking food in open places will be arrested and prosecuted, he added.
Hide in public toilets
He said Nairobi residents should be aware that the hawkers hide in public toilets whenever they spot county officials.
“People eat all kind of dirt, some of these hawkers you find them in the city toilets hiding there with the food as they escape our officials, “said Dr Muia.
Dr Muia said health inspectors have been soliciting funds from food handlers, warning them that they will soon be caught.
“The department of public health have been receiving bribes from food handling business and turn a blind eye on unhygienic places,” said Dr Muia.
He said the inspection of food eateries will be carried out by officers who have been deployed to inspect and ensure food safety.
On the bird flu outbreak in Uganda, he called upon residents to avoid eating dead chicken or birds that are almost dying.
Dr Muia said the city will face a big challenge as the supply of chicken is mainly from outside the county.
He called on businesses dealing with chicken to be careful and humane enough not to slaughter dead chicken that are infected for sale in the city.
“We have a problem as a county as most of the chicken we eat in the city comes from outside and they come here after they are slaughtered, therefore we cannot determine if they were dead or healthy,” said Dr Muia.
However, he said that they have put in place a disease surveillance team that will report on cases of any outbreak in the county and help in containing any spread.