KENYA – The county government of Kakamega is set to incinerate seventy-three tonnes of contaminated maize and beans from Mukumu Girls’ High School, which was recently beleaguered in a food poisoning incident.
This is even after previous tests conducted were claimed to have turned out negative for aflatoxin.
According to Kakamega County Regional Commissioner Samson Irungu, the process is expected to take a maximum of two days if done at Bamburi Cement compared to two months at KEMRI Kisumu due to the capacity.
“We would have done the incineration in KEMRI Kisumu but the food items are about 73 tonnes and the incinerator in Kisumu is doing a tone a day meaning if you were to destroy all the food items it would have taken us 73 days that is two months and three days which would have been a very long time,” he said.
Irungu claimed that a multi-agency meeting on Tuesday evaluated every possibility and determined that Bamburi was the best choice. This, he stated would reduce the likelihood of abuse while also lowering the cost of food storage.
“For accountability purposes, myself here and the regional commissioner want to assure the public that the maize and beans that were contaminated are now going to be destroyed professionally and in compliance with the procedures of destroying contaminated food,” Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa said.
To cut down on the number of days it would have taken to destroy them at the KEMRI Kisumu, the procedure, which will cost the county government Ksh. 878,000 (U.S. $6,441), will be carried out at Bamburi Cement in Mombasa.
The food has already been put into trucks for transportation, and parents, members of the media, and a political leader representative witnessed the process.
The trucks will then be transported under the watchful eyes of armed security guards. Come Friday, parents, teachers, and representatives of political leaders will witness the trucks being destroyed.
More than 500 students from Mukumu Girls’ High School were last month reported to have contracted an unknown foodborne illness and 124 of them were admitted to the Kakamega County Medical Hospital. This led to the closure of the school.
Traceback investigations together with laboratory analysis later pinpointed Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (E.coli) and Salmonella from contaminated water sources as the two culprits behind the food poisoning incident. The incident claimed the lives of four students and one staff.
The school is set to re-open next week.