A row has erupted in Kenya after 23 tonnes (about 3,610 stone) of fresh ginger imported from Vietnam was released despite being found to be unfit for human consumption.
Port authorities in Mombasa discovered that the shipment of ginger was mouldy with 14% moisture instead of the maximum 12%.
“The said ginger had failed to comply with the standards and thereby condemned and recommended the same for destruction,” Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper quoted Jaji Kombo, public health officer at the port, as saying.
The Standard newspaper quotes official laboratory analysis as saying it was dirty and also “moist, mouldy, was rotting and emitting a pungent smell upon a physical examination”.
But the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) went ahead to clear the ginger, saying the port authorities had no right to intervene.
Kebs spokesperson Phoebe Gituku told the Nation that the importers had an official customs form, known as a certificate of conformity, from Vietnam which allowed the ginger to go to market.
Kenya often imports ginger from Vietnam for industrial use because, it is cheaper than locally grown ginger.
The revelations have come as a shock to many Kenyans, judging by reactions on Twitter, who feel let down by Kebs given a number of recent food-contamination scandals.
KEBS is in the frying pan for allowing the release of 23,000 tonnes of rotting ginger imported from Vietnam into the market, despite a warning from the Port Health Services.#NTVTonight @MarkMasai @SmritiVidyarthi @kevinmutai_
Like the poisoned rice, sugar, maize, baby formula was not enough?? This government is really trying to take its citizens out one way or the other?