The Agriculture & Food Authority (AFA) will start inspections to make sure that all food consumed in the country is safe with immediate effect. The Acting Director General Harsama Kello says that many government agencies were deployed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to check on the safety of all food leaving the country for the export market but no one has taken the initiative of checking on what was being consumed locally. He is concerned that some of the food intended for export and is rejected at the airport due to high chemical residues finds its way into the local market.
Kello says that they will start a crackdown on dangerous chemicals that were being used in growing vegetables like cabbages, spinach, sukumawiki, tomatoes and other crops in the rural areas and transported to urban centers. The Director General says they will be examining chemical residues in vegetables as they had information that some chemicals being used in them were dangerous and carcinogenic. He says that the increase in cancer cases in the country can be attributed to these chemicals use in growing vegetables. Some of the chemicals have been banned in other countries and were being smuggled into the country through our neighbours.
The agency will be collecting samples from various markets in the country and conducting tests on them. Anyone found with food containing harmful chemical residues will be prosecuted. “I will make sure this is done very strictly so that we protect our children and our people,” says Kello. The use of chemicals in the right manner will also be enforced.
The Authority will also liaise with the Nairobi Metropolitan Service, Provincial administration and other government agencies to ensure that all the food grown in the city is safe for human consumption especially with complains of people farming using sewage effluent.
“We are also going to educate the public on food safety using horticulture officers across the country. Food safety is one of our mandates under the AFA Act,” adds Kello.