66% of the impounded sugar contaminated, Munya

Lamu county police commander Muchangi Kioi together with other officers displaying the contraband sugar impounded in Lamu during an operation.66% of the sugar has been confirmed to be unfit for human consumption PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Nairobi,KENYA:The Government is set to burn 66 percent of the contraband sugar that failed to meet Kenya Bureau of standards (KEBS) threshold after  laboratory  tests were conducted.

Addressing members of the press in Nairobi on Monday, Trade, industrial and cooperative cabinet Secretary Peter Munya alluded that, after the  Multi-agency committee (MAC) that was established by president Uhuru Kenyatta to undertake a rapid response initiative aimed at addressing the problem of trade in illicit products in the country, 837,244 50-KG bags out of 1,266,351 of the sample, failed the KEBS safety  test.

Only 157,392 bags of the total sample which represent 34 percent passed the KEBS tests.

“KEBS that is also a member of the MAC and the National entity responsible for enforcement of standards has taken and tested 66 samples representing 1,266,351 50-KG of sugar which is equivalent to 96% of the 1,319,668 50-KG bags seized by the MAC,” Said Munya.

“Out of this sample of 1,266,351 50-KG bags, 837,244 50-KG bags equivalent to 66 % of the sample failed the KEBS test,” He added.

In addition to the testing of the seized sugar, Munya said KEBS has drawn a total of 261 samples from 45 counties to ascertain its quality and safety and from the samples, KEBS has tested 82 samples representing 28 counties.

The test results from the market surveillance samples shows that 31 samples out of the 82 samples tested (approximately 38%) failed the KEBS test while 51 samples out of the 82 samples (approximately 62%) passed the test.

MAC is said to have also seized a total of 7,750 tons of industrial sugar (White Refined Sugar) and KEBS has already released to owners 3,550 tons of this consignment upon confirmation of compliance with the standards as the remaining 4200 tons are awaiting the test results.

Following the incident, the government has asked KEBS to fast track the testing of the 4,200 tons to confirm compliance with the standard and later release of industrial sugar that pass the test to the owners and appropriate records kept.

The CS said that sugar is contaminated with high content of moisture, color, polarization and poor handling of the product which does not meet the standards of human consumption.

Further, at the port, KEBS is holding 40 consignments of edible oils that were suspected to have entered the country without meeting the applicable standards and the results shows that 25 consignments failed the KEBS quality tests with respect to vitamin A.

The government has now ordered relevant agencies to destroy all consignments of edible oils that have failed the KEBS quality tests in strict compliance with the law at owners cost or be reshipped back to country of origin.

This comes amid speculation that the sugar Kenyans are consuming contains mercury, copper and led components that is hazardous to human health.