Vets want govt to establish guidelines for use of preservatives on unprocessed meat

The Kenya Veterinary Association is now urging the government to outlaw the use of chemical preservatives on unprocessed meat due to lack of clear guidelines and controls.

The association, on Monday, said the lack of clear guidelines had made it more likely for outlets selling meat to exceed the Maximum Residue Limit, thus rendering the meat unfit for human consumption.

KVA Chairman Samuel Kahariri said the use of chemical preservatives on fresh meat adversely affects unsuspecting customers, who may suffer health complications.

This is because the amounts used in butcheries and meat outlets are just mere estimations posing a risk of exceeding maximum levels and consequently compromise human health.

“The chemical preservatives on meat are used on supposedly fresh meat and therefore fed to unsuspecting customers who may suffer varying health complications. We therefore, request the government to immediately outlaw any use of the chemical preservatives in all the meat outlets that are not involved in processing and packaging,” he said.

In cases where chemical preservatives are used, the veterinary officers say the products must be clearly labeled and amounts used indicated to enable the consumers make informed decisions and choices.

According to specialists, sodium metabisulphite which, according to a recent television exposé, is widely used in meat selling outlets has residue limit of 500ppm (parts per million).

The vets have also called upon the national government to conduct an urgent audit on all the slaughterhouse facilities across the country and ensure that each has a meat inspector.

Following devolution of local abattoirs, the vet officers argue there has been laxity in the management of the facilities with the professionals being denied independent judgment hence contributing to lapse in public health standards.

“In cases where it may not be possible to employ a veterinary doctor or a veterinary paraprofessional, we urge the government to cause immediate closure of such facilities to curb the rise in the meat adulteration and uphold public health.”

Further, the government has been asked to facilitate a joint team of the National Veterinary Public Health official to conduct inspection and regular meat surveillance in all the slaughterhouses and butcheries to restore customer confidence and cushion the meat industry from collapse. 


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