MEAT CRISIS

Country facing acute shortage of meat inspectors

Lack of meat inspectors had seen even dead animals or sick ones slaughtered and sold to unsuspecting consumers.

In Summary

• Kahariri said that lack of the inspectors made it impossible to conduct Ante mortem examinations in the animals as required to be done before slaughter.

• He noted that as a result of the malpractice, the carcasses were spreading zoonotic diseases adding that the meat had a very short shelf life.  

A butcher parking meat in gunias at the city market./victor imboto
A butcher parking meat in gunias at the city market./victor imboto

The current meat crisis in the country has been attributed to the acute shortage of meat inspectors according to the Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA).

In the wake of reports that supermarkets were using Sodium meta-bisulphite to preserve their meat, it has emerged that the country has over 2,500 slaughter houses against 500 inspectors.

According to the KVA national chairman Dr Samuel Kahariri, lack of the meat inspectors had seen even dead animals or sick ones slaughtered and sold to unsuspecting consumers.

Kahariri said that lack of the inspectors made it impossible to conduct Ante mortem examinations in the animals as required to be done before slaughter.

“This has seen a sharp rise in unscrupulous practices by traders who take sick, feverish and in some few cases already dead animals for slaughter,” he said.

He noted that as a result of the malpractice, the carcasses were spreading zoonotic diseases adding that the meat had a very short shelf life.  

“This may explain why a few unscrupulous traders result to prolong the shelf life and improve appearance of the carcass by use of chemical compounds as recently exposed,” he said.

Kahariri said that following devolution of all the local abattoirs, there was an increase in poor management of sanitary issues at the slaughterhouses.

“We therefore urge the Kenya Veterinary Board to decisively deal with any professionals who fail to discharge their duty independent of political interference,” he said.

Kahariri attributed the current mess in the sector to an acute shortage of veterinary doctors saying that this should be urgently addressed by the national and county governments.

 

“We urge the national government to conduct an urgent audit on all the slaughter facilities across the Country and ensure that each has a meat inspector,” he said.

Kahariri noted that in the current situation one meat inspector was in charge of up to nine slaughter facilities in some cases.

“In cases where it may not be possible to employ a veterinary doctor, we urge the government to close such facilities to curb the rise in the meat adulteration and uphold public health,” he said.

The senior vet added that veterinary services should oversee assurance in certifying that all food of animal origin complied with the set animal health and food standards.

“This will enable the country to guarantee food safety and improve access to international markets for the animal and animal product,” he said.