EDITORIAL: Expand ministry probe

Sicily Kariuki
Health Secretary Sicily Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The recent NTV expose that revealed how supermarkets are using high levels of preservatives to keep their meat fresh for longer has moved the State into action through an investigation on retail stores.

Health Secretary Sicily Kariuki has stated that the use of Sodium Metabisulfite for preservation of meat is not permitted in the country. The directive for a speedy investigation is commendable, but it is also important for the government to ensure that the health standards agency is doing its job all-year-round to ensure that retailers and butcheries are selling food that is safe for human consumption at all times, not just when the alarm is raised.

Kenyans also need to be made aware of the real issue, which isn’t that Sodium Metabisulfite is dangerous, but rather the use of the chemical at levels above the recommended amounts.

The ministry investigation into its use in products sold at retail stores should be transparent and the culprits named to ensure members of the public are made aware of retailers that are compliant and those that are not.

The investigation should also not just cover retailers and food products that were the subject of the TV expose, but also be widened to include other food outlets as well as chemicals used in fresh and canned food other than meat.