The revelation comes as a result of laboratory tests conducted on specific consignments, leaving a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the safety of the nation’s cooking oil supply.
In a letter dated September 5th, addressed to the Managing Director of the Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC), KEBS categorically stated that consignments, notably entry numbers 23MBAIM402473344, 23MBAIM403321628, and 23MBAIM403235943, failed to meet the stipulated standards for fortified edible oils and fats.
The primary infractions included non-compliance in Vitamin A levels and insoluble impurities.
The KEBS report revealed that the fat content in the cooking oil exceeded the required amount by 0.47%, registering 99.97 instead of the mandated 99.5.
Further, the moisture and matter volatile at 105°C deviated from the standard of 0.2, measuring a mere 0.03.
Acid value, a crucial parameter for oil quality, showed a potassium hydroxide measurement of 0.12, significantly lower than the required 0.6. Surprisingly, the peroxide oxygen content, which should not exceed 10, stood at 5.42.
The unsettling findings prompt action from KEBS, directing the importer to reship the rejected consignments to the country of origin within 30 days, warning that failure to comply would result in destruction at the importer’s cost.
However, the mystery deepens as it remains unclear why earlier consignments, particularly one exported by Multi Commerce FZC, escaped laboratory scrutiny.
This revelation raises questions about the procurement process, as the imported oil was initially intended to mitigate the rising cost of living.
Investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) have taken a new direction, with top KNTC officials facing inquiries.
The focus shifts to alleged single-sourcing of food and edible oil procurement through KNTC, with suspicions heightened due to reported connections between certain companies and the government.
The implications of this controversy extend beyond the immediate health concerns, delving into the realm of transparency and accountability within government agencies.
As Kenyan households grapple with the fallout, there is a pressing need for thorough investigations, ensuring that such oversights do not compromise public health and trust in government institutions.
In the wake of these revelations, consumers and watchdog groups are now calling for a comprehensive review of the entire cooking oil supply chain, emphasizing the urgency of restoring faith in the quality and safety of everyday essentials.