In Summary
  • An analysis carried out on samples of the 1,400 bags of illegal sugar seized by police in different operations, reveal that some of the sugar contained contaminated water insoluble matter.

  • On Wednesday, Dr Matiang’i inspected another 1,365 bags of illegal sugar that was nabbed from warehouses in Eastleigh, Ruiru and Nairobi’s Industrial Area.

  • Machines used to package and repackage the illegally imported sugar were also impounded in the police operation.

Copper, mercury, yeast and moulds. These are the poisons Kenyans may have consumed for a long time now, thinking that it was genuine sugar.

An analysis carried out on samples of the 1,400 bags of illegal sugar seized by police in different operations, reveal that some of the sugar contained contaminated water insoluble matter.

TESTS

The tests carried out at the government chemist and whose results Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i has termed as ‘shocking’ reveal the dangers that Kenyans have been exposed to, since the contents of the sugar, medics say, are capable of causing some types of cancer and harming internal organs.

Despite the sacks of the sweetener being marked as ‘not safe for human consumption’ unscrupulous businessmen packaged them in 1kg and 2kg packets, disguised as local brands among them Kabras, Mumias Sugar, West Sugar and Kilimo Kenya.

World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that elemental mercury are toxic to the central and peripheral nervous systems. The international organisation also indicates that ingestion and inhalation of mercury vapour can produce harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs and kidneys, and may be fatal.

“The inorganic salts of mercury are corrosive to the skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract, and may induce kidney toxicity if ingested,” WHO states.

Neurological and behavioural disorders may be observed, with symptoms including tremors, insomnia, memory loss, neuromuscular effects, headaches, cognitive and motor dysfunction. Copper poisoning on the other side, can damage the liver and kidneys.

Apart from the toxicity of the commodity, inspection commissioned by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), National Environmental Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority and other agencies could not ascertain the origin. It was also soiled, indicating that it was poorly handled and was stored in a dirty condition.

On Wednesday, Dr Matiang’i inspected another 1,365 bags of illegal sugar that was nabbed from warehouses in Eastleigh, Ruiru and Nairobi’s Industrial Area.

Machines used to package and repackage the illegally imported sugar were also impounded in the police operation.

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