All wholesalers, supermarkets and retail shops in the country dealing in sugar have been directed by the Government to undertake laboratory analysis on the consignments they receive.
The tests are to be undertaken at the traders’ own cost, a move that may result in increased sugar prices.
Director of Public Health Kepha Ombacho announced that traders would have to provide proof of sampling through certificates obtainable from government laboratories.
He explained that the move was necessitated by shocking revelations that contaminated sugar containing insoluble metals such as copper and mercury was readily available in the market having been repackaged as trusted local brands.
“We have noted with concern that unsafe sugar has been placed in the market for human consumption, which could be injurious to the health of consumers.
“As a supplier/stockist, you are advised to subject all sugar to sampling testing and analysis to ascertain its safety before selling the same to the public,” he wrote in a letter titled “Counterfeit Sugar in The Market”.
Ombacho further warned that non-compliance with the new rules and existing regulations would result in stern action being taken as surveillance has been enhanced.
“Be notified that the active surveillance by national and county health ministries will sustain active surveillance of sugar to ascertain compliance and if found to have contravened the said laws and national standards, the product will be withdrawn from the market and legal action taken against the offending person (entity),” he stated.
An multi-agency taskforce operation led by Wanyama Musiambo has so far seen hundreds of bags of imported sugar seized in warehouses across the country.
While most of the seized sugar was meant for industrial use, it was set to be sold at various retail outlets.