Naivas has suspended the sale of red meat across all its stores countrywide pending the results of independent testing of its meat and assessment of its supplier base.
The move came hours after Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua ordered the closure of the retail chain’s meet sections in the county after a test of its products at the Mavoko outlets confirmed presence of an additive. By suspending the sale of red meat, Naivas either appears to be defying the shut down or avoiding similar actions by other county governments.
This decision, said Willy Kimani, the Naivas Chief Commercial Officer, had been taken in the interest of its customers and will involve subjecting the whole stock of red meat to a thorough independent lab test and a step by step verification of each participant along the whole meat value chain.
“We will only be selling white meat for now in all our butcheries,” said Kimani. Naivas, he added, is cooperating with national and county government agencies to address this issue.
Kimani restated that customer welfare remains paramount for the firm and that Naivas does not use or condone the use of any chemical preservatives for meat products.
He reiterated that the company will take strong legal action against anybody found to have supplied contaminated meat to Naivas.
While announcing the shutdown, Mutua directed his officers in collaboration with their national government counterparts to move with speed to all supermarkets in Machakos County for investigations and advisory to the public.
According to the governor, the butchery sections will remain closed until given an okay to open by the county government’s public health department.
The test was conducted after an NTV expose revealed that supermarkets had resorted to using Sodium Metabisulfite to prolong the shelf life of meat products.
The Ministry of Health also swung into action and collected random samples from various outlets for analysis at the national public health laboratories.
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki says six out of 40 meat samples taken randomly for testing had large amounts of Sodium Metabisulfite preservative.
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Several supermarkets are said to have replaced meat and meat products on their shelves.