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Economy

City Hall ‘skipped food handler tests for a year’



City Hall in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO / NMG
City Hall in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO / NMG 

City Hall is on the spot for failing to test public food handlers in Nairobi for almost a year despite collecting the requisite fees, putting into doubt the safety of the food being consumed in the capital.

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) disclosed that no public food handler had been issued with a certificate of good health for almost a year as the medical tests are rarely done by the county’s public health officers.

Robert Juma, KAM regional co-ordinator for Nairobi, faulted City Hall for its lack of capacity to test, track and have proof that one has been tested, saying that the county has not been conducting the tests and issuing valid medical certificates of good health.

He said there are only four licensed public laboratories in the county capable of conducting the testing, which are overstretched, meaning that food consumed in Nairobi is handled by people who are not tested.

“The certificates are not there and the tests are rarely done. This is a major risk to millions of residents because the health status of most of the practising food handlers remains unknown,” he said.

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“This is despite the public health officers demanding that you comply with the six months testing cycle by paying the usual testing fees. And if you do not pay you are arrested.”

Mr Juma was speaking on Thursday before Nairobi County Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee public forum at City hall over the Nairobi City County Finance Bill 2019.

He challenged the county public health department to digitise its systems for proper tracking of food handlers, testing and issuance of medical certificates.

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