By Jacktone Lawi
International environmental watchdog and lobby group has called on the government to put in place a standardization system for food supplies in a bid to save consumers from harmful foodstuffs.
Greenpeace is urging the government to put in place robust policies and regulatory provisions that traces the food supplies through the value chain.
According to Claire Nasike Greenpeace Africa’s food for life Campaigner, this will help in ensuring that standards are adhered to and food safety guaranteed.”
The past few months have seen increased cases of substandard food imports into Kenya. From sugar that contains mercury to expired rice, to oil that does not meet the required standards.
“It is shocking that even before the storm surrounding contaminated sugar has settled, Kenyans have to deal with news of food unfit for human consumption that has been allowed into the country. Kenya’s food system has become vulnerable to unscrupulous businessmen seeking to profit at the expense of consumers’ health. This leaves millions of consumers exposed to food contamination.
Experts have also warned that a lot of milk and chicken on sale is highly contaminated with disease-causing germs.
Greenpeace now says there is an urgent need for the president to take a step further from food security and include food safety in his big four agenda given the ongoing crisis.
“The Kenya Bureau of standards and Kenya Revenue authority have imposed new rules requiring goods headed to Kenya to be verified at the source – but the two bodies need to do more in terms of dealing with rogue port officials who work with cartels to clear substandard goods or fail to inspect containers bringing in food products.
“Unregulated imports are slowly killing farmers who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. The government needs to support sustainable and safe food production methods such as ecological farming especially among smallholder farmers through increased resource allocation. Ecological farming does not contaminate the food or the environment with chemical inputs thus ensuring local stable supply of safe and healthy food.