Trade and Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has dispelled the notion that seized sugar contains traces of mercury and copper, elements that pose health risks to Kenyans. Munya has revealed that what made the seized sugar dangerous was the moisture content, which came about as a result of poor storage.
Addressing the press on the sugar safety investigation report on Monday, Munya said 66% of the sugar that was seized by security agencies will be destroyed because it isn’t fit for human consumption. He cited the window opened by the state for importation of duty free sugar as the main factor that led to the over importation of sugar, “Those who imported the sugar including traders handled the sugar poorly, storing them in wrong places, warehouses not fit for storage,” he said, adding that some didn’t process sugar which was meant to be processed.
The sugar saga has dominated headlines for a considerable duration of time, with several leaders appearing before joint committees to fully explain how sugar unfit for human consumption found its way to the Kenyan market. The decision to allow importation of duty free sugar was cited by some, including Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, who said the acute drought experienced in the country in late 2016 and 2017 paved the way for importation of essential food products, and an executive order was issued to allow duty free importation of sugar, maize and powdered milk.
However, Munya has assured Kenyans that the seized sugar that has failed the quality standards test remains in warehouses and hasn’t been released to the market, but will be destroyed, “Destruction should be done in compliance with the law and the procedures.” He said the sugar that has been passed fit for human consumption will be released to the market, “What will be released to the public will be safe,” he said.