Members of parliament have ordered that edible oils that were confiscated by a government agency a year ago be tested again to ensure that it is fit for human consumption.
The 10 billion worth imported oil that was confiscated last year in Mombasa should be re-tested for vitamin A before being released to the markets as directed by the National Assembly Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Committee.
Committee Chairman Kanini Kega (Kieni) led members of the committee to Mombasa, to block the 47 out of 503 containers of the initially confiscated oil from being released to the market.
“We have received reports that some of the oils that were blocked here have been released, but we would like to be sure that our citizens are safe. we are giving the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) another chance to re-test and confirm that indeed these oils are fit for human consumption before they are released,” said Mr. Kieni.
He added that in the event that parliament is not satisfied with Kebs findings, they will be forced to order for an independent test.
He said that the rate at which cancer cases are reported in the country cannot allow them to sit back as edible oils that may not be good for the health of citizen are being sold.
“Previous tests have shown that the oils lacked vitamin A. if they are tested again and we confirm that they lack the said vitamins, then we shall have them destroyed or taken back to the countries from where they were imported. We would like to be vigilant, especially in matters of food safety,” he said.
Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Committee Vice-Chair Cornelly Serem said that the Ministry of health required edible oils to contain vitamin A and that if these oils do not have that requirement the Ministry of Trade should say on which grounds, he ordered them to be released.
“We want to see the reports and minutes of government that allowed the CS to release the oils. If they claim that the oils are fit for consumption, their report should match that of the Ministry of health,” said Mr. Serem.
While the committee members observed the jerrycans in Mombasa, the products’ expiry date was seen to be May next year.
They concluded that the products needed not to be released because there is no guarantee they would sell before that time.
The committee said that the re-testing of those products will be hastened so that Kenyans are told of the outcome after 14 days.