KENYA – The Directorate of Veterinary Services has sounded the alarm over the quality and safety of chicken meat flooding Nairobi Central Business District (CBD), estates, and major towns across the country.
In a sternly worded letter dated November 6, Director Obadiah Njagi expressed grave concerns that the majority of chicken meat available in food outlets had not undergone the necessary health inspections.
The letter highlights a disconcerting trend where chickens are being slaughtered at private homes instead of licensed slaughterhouses, a clear violation of existing regulations.
Njagi disclosed that broiler chicken farmers are now opting to process the meat in their backyards, with subsequent transportation to hotels and eateries flouting safety requirements.
“This meat is sourced mainly from the broiler chicken farmers, who slaughter the chicken in their backyard and transport the meat to the hotels and other eateries,” the letter read, specifically addressing County Directors.
The directive emphasizes that such practices directly contravene the Meat Control Act Cap 356 of the laws of Kenya, which mandates that food animals should only be slaughtered in licensed establishments under the supervision of an inspecting officer.
This revelation puts numerous fast-food eateries in the CBD and other towns, as well as local butcheries, under scrutiny for their sourcing methods.
County inspectors have been urged to closely monitor and enforce compliance, with a stark warning that legal action will be taken against traders found violating the specified requirements.
The Directorate underscored the inherent dangers posed by these malpractices, emphasizing the potential exposure of consumers to unhygienic meat containing harmful microorganisms, medicine residues, and other contaminants.
The letter concludes by advising Kenyan consumers to exercise caution when selecting outlets to purchase chicken, given the gravity of the situation.
As the authorities grapple with this concerning revelation, the spotlight is now on the need for urgent intervention to safeguard public health and ensure the adherence of food establishments to the stipulated regulations.
To stem this, he has called for heightened surveillance and close cooperation with other stakeholders.
“You should also work in close cooperation with other stakeholders in food safety including the law enforcement agencies to ensure perpetrators of these illegal activities are dealt with according to the law,” Njagi said.