Contraband sugar: Kenyans exposed to dangerous amounts of mercury


Contraband sugar nabbed during sting operations which are said to contain mercury and copper.
Contraband sugar nabbed during sting operations which are said to contain mercury and copper.

In Summary

  • According to the Government Chemist, the sugar is unfit for direct human consumption.
  • Mercury has adverse effects on the human body such as complications on the nervous and digestive systems, weakening of the immune systems, kidney failure and also causes cancer.
  • Copper, on the other hand, causes nausea, bloody diarrhea, low blood pressure anaemia and heart complications. 

An analysis by the government chemist on more than 1,000 bags of contraband sugar seized recently found dangerous levels of mercury and copper.

Sting operations conducted separately at Beder Stores in Nairobi’s Eastleigh and Paleah Stores along the Eastern bypass in Ruiru seized 1,365 bags of industrial sugar.

According to the Government Chemist, the sugar is unfit for human consumption.

Mercury has adverse effects on the human body such as complications on the nervous and digestive systems, weakening of the immune systems, kidney failure and also causes cancer.

Copper, on the other hand, causes nausea, bloody diarrhea, low blood pressure anaemia and heart complications.

“They are killing us because they are selling poison to all of us… and none of us is safe,” Interior CS Fred Matiang’i said.

Matiang’i further revealed that influential businessmen and politicians behind the killer trade have been threatening officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) steering the operation.

“I am not under any illusion that we are engaged in a very serious war… a war that could mean anything… it could mean even the lives of these officers and some of us… but let me tell you quite clearly, we are ready,” he added.

Authorities have accused the traders of illegally repackaging the imported sugar into local brands without the knowledge of companies they sell it to.

This had led to the loss of millions of shillings to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

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