Kenya Bureau of Standards: Crack the whip on rogue importers
On Wednesday, Parliament summoned Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) officials to explain how an importer brought in 28 tonnes of ginger from Vietnam despite a health warning by Port health services.
House Committee on Trade and Industry was alarmed that contraband and/or sub-standard goods have been finding their way into Kenya.
On the matter of the ginger cargo, it was reported that the government chemist last week condemned the consignment as unfit for human consumption.
While we cannot apportion blame at the moment because Kebs is yet to give its version of what precisely transpired, we share the sense of alarm of the committee led by Kieni MP Kanini Kega. The committee blew the whistle on what is a clear a case of officials caught napping and endangering public safety.
It is important that someone cracks the whip so that those responsible pay for their sins even as questions are asked on where the rot started.
For instance, was due diligence done at the point of origin? If it was not, why? How did we reach the point where we import foodstuff that fail local health standards so dismally?
If due diligence was done at the point of origin, how did the stuff deteriorate so rapidly that it arrived here moldy? Why didn’t anyone notice the terrible condition of the goods?
If we broaden the scope of this state of worry, we might as well ask how many other foodstuff are sold to an unsuspecting public across the length and breadth of this country.
These are serious concerns indeed and answers must be provided by those responsible for such imports.
Does the Kebs have offices and manpower at various points of entry? Is this not the ideal situation so that dubious imports are intercepted before they are transported into the hinterland?
Put another way, we are urging heightened vigilance by both trade technocrats and security officials so that traders hellbent on making a quick buck at the expense of the health of the public are stopped in their tracks.
It is not just immoral but downright perilous for unscrupulous entrepreneurs to bend rules and import obviously dangerous food items. It is unacceptable and action must be taken. Pronto!