Danger as Nairobi residents consume uninspected game meat

Zebra meat recovered from two suspects above in Ngama area of Kajiado county

By Jackson Kairu

Kenya’s once vibrant consumer rights watchdog appears to have drifted into silence even as wananchi are duped into consuming suspect game meat, especially in nyoma choma joints.

This is putting city residents at grave risks as the illegal game meat is never inspected or checked for diseases that could be passed on to consumers. The alarm comes in the wake of a High Court ruling last year declaring donkey meat safe for public consumption but with a rider that it be thoroughly inspected before being sold. 

The Chief Public Health Officer Ministry of Public Health Kepha Ombacho said; We cannot pretend that we are not aware of unscrupulous meat dealers. Traders are inventing new tricks to sneak into the market meat that is not classified as normal, our greatest challenge is safeguarding people’s health

According to the Chief Public Health Officer at the Ministry of Public Health Kepha Ombacho, the ideal situation is that meat should come from designated abattoirs within Nairobi. “We cannot pretend that we are not aware of unscrupulous meat dealers. Traders are inventing new tricks to sneak into the market meat that is not classified as normal. Our greatest challenge is safeguarding people’s health,” said Ombacho.

A study by The Weekly Vision conducted in Nairobi and its environs, paints a frightening picture of a people left with no choice to eat suspect beef. The study showed that many outlets selling nyama choma source it from individuals whose origin remain unknown as it bears no inspection stamp. 

Studies conducted in the suburbs of Nairobi like Kitengela in Kajiado and Sultan Hamud in Machakos counties, indicate that meat sold to consumers in at least 15 hotels in Nairobi is suspect.  Those supposed to inspect or verify if the beef is sourced from gazetted slaughterhouses, only pass by to pick “brown envelopes” (read bribes).

Some of Kenya’s investigative agencies are also aware of the scam, however, they just pass by to pick their cut too! This is a risky adventure, diseases from animals could easily be passed on to the customer. Concerned citizens told us that meat inspectors do not seem to take their work seriously. 

This is a recipe for disaster, as studies show that uninspected wild animal meat can be fatal.The main sources of meat in Nairobi itself are abattoirs including Njiru and Dagoretti but many opt to go for cheaper suspect beef from “briefcase’ dealers.

The study further revealed that several upscale city hotels source their meat and chicken from middlemen or brokers. In many cases, the meat is already going bad but they “revive” it in deep freezers before frying it and serving customers. 

The unscrupulous dealers are already known to be sneaking donkey and game meat which they sell to unsuspecting customers in Nairobi. ‘Many families have been taken ill after eating suspect meat” 

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