• May 25, 2024
  • Last Update May 25, 2024 6:54 PM
  • Nairobi

Ministry of Health prioritizes food safety amid flood crisis

Ministry of Health prioritizes food safety amid flood crisis


Tuesday, May 7, 2024

KNA by Joseph Ng’ang’a

The government has reiterated its commitment to safeguarding the health and well-being of all Kenyans, particularly during the ongoing floods.

Public Health and Professional Standards PS Mary Muthoni Muriuki said that as the floods persistently affected various regions, ensuring access to safe and nutritious food remained paramount in their efforts to protect public health.

“Foodborne illnesses pose a significant threat to our communities, with diarrhoea outbreaks largely attributed to the consumption of contaminated food and water,” explained Muriuki.

The PS highlighted that typhoid, dysentery, gastroenteritis, aflatoxin poisoning, brucellosis and cholera were among the prevalent diseases plaguing the nation adding that these health risks underscored the critical importance of prioritizing food safety management, especially in the wake of natural disasters like floods.

According to the PS, key factors contributing to foodborne illnesses include cross-contamination, unsafe food sources, inadequate cooking, improper storage, and poor personal hygiene practices.

“Recognizing these risks, the Ministry of Health remains vigilant in its efforts to mitigate the spread of diseases and safeguard public health,” she said.

The PS said that a particular concern amidst the current flood crisis is the contamination of maize flour, cereals, and pulses with aflatoxin, exacerbated by heavy rains.

She explained that factors such as improper harvesting, drying methods, and inadequate storage significantly contributed to aflatoxin contamination, posing serious health risks to consumers.

“In collaboration with our partners, the Ministry of Health is actively engaged in initiatives aimed at protecting consumers from the adverse effects of unwholesome foods. By fostering cooperation and collective action, we can ensure the safety and integrity of our food supply chain,” said Muriuki.

The PS underscored the importance of everyone playing their role including food business operators as she called for regular updates on food safety management plans and adherence to good hygiene practices to prevent food safety incidents.

“For our food consumers, we would like to urge everyone to use clean water for drinking and food preparation, thoroughly clean and sanitize all surfaces and utensils exposed to floodwaters, monitor refrigerated or frozen foods during power outages, practice proper hand washing before handling food, cook food thoroughly and store dry foods away from moisture, refrain from consuming maize that has changed color and seek immediate medical attention if experiencing symptoms of foodborne illness,” she said.

The PS advised that for immediate assistance, people should contact the National Public Health Emergency Operation Centre on 0729 47 14 14, 0732 35 35 35 or 719.

“Together, let us remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of all Kenyans,” said Muriuki.

Courtesy; KNA

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