NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – The National Assembly Committee on Trade has halted the release of at least 500 containers of edible oil imported into the country last year.
The committee, which is led by Kanini Kega, said the impounded consignment should not be released until they are subjected to a fresh round of test by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).
Kega said the impounded consignment should not be released until they are subjected to a fresh round of test by KEBS.
This comes after Trade Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya released the goods without condition, saying government conducted investigations and found the oil fit for human consumption.
“We got a wind that some containers, which were seized last year containing edible oil, have been released into the local market. We know for sure, that the Bureau had said the imported edible oil did not meet a certain threshold, hence could not be released into the market,” Kega said when he led the House team to tour freight stations where the containers are stored.
The Sh10 billion cooking oil consignment was impounded by detectives last year.
This is after Kenya Bureau of Standards said the edible oil was not fortified with Vitamin A and would be harmful to consumers.
Kega said the committee want to understand how this consignment changed from not meeting the standards to now being fit for human consumption.
“We have ordered as a committee these containers should not be released. Before they release any other container, a test must be done. We must be sure what is being released into the market is not harmful to our people,” he said.
The expiry date for most of the edible oil is May 2020.
“What assurance do we have the that the edible oil will be used before the expiry date? How sure are we that the importers will not repackage the oil?” posed Kega.
Cornelly Serem, the Vice Chair of the National Assembly Trade Committee, said a country cannot import a product, whose shelf-life has gone past 25 per cent.
“This consignment expires by May next year. It has therefore gone past 25 per cent of its shelf life. As it is now, we are not comfortable in accepting the rest of the containers are released into the market,” said Serem.
He said the Ministry of Health has also not given a go-ahead for the oil to be released into the local market.
“The ministry of health has not given its concurrence to allow the products to be used locally. We first want to see the input of the health ministry,” he said.