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REVEALED! Butchers using ‘killer’ chemicals in our meat.

Supermarkets and butcheries are using the preservative to help them preserve meat for as long as 3 months. When sprayed on the meat, it gives it a crisp, reddish colour, which makes customers believe that the beef is fresh. However, scientists say this chemical is one of the agents that cause cancer.
There is overwhelming scientific evidence that toxic preservatives are being used in the meat that retailers are serving their customers in Kenya.

In an exposé by The Nation, it was revealed that meat merchants in butcheries and supermarkets have been using unregulated preservatives to help them preserve meat for as long as 3 months.
Sodium metabisulphite, a chemical bought from chemists and agrovets for Sh. 650 per 500g, is still in excessive use despite the health hazards it poses.

The chemical (‘dawa ya nyama’ as it is popularly referred to by the butchers) is a whitish, powdery compound that looks like glucose which is particularly popular in ‘slow’ months such as January when the demand for meat is low. It is usually mixed with water and then sprayed on the meat to give it a crisp, reddish colour, which makes customers believe that the beef is fresh even if the carcass could have stayed for up to a month.

Laboratory tests carried out on meat samples purchased from supermarkets and butcheries in Nairobi and environs revealed the presence of the preservative, which scientists say is one of the agents that cause cancer.

By international standards, fresh meat is not supposed to contain any preservative. In 1986, the US Food and Drug Authority (FDA) banned the use of sulphites to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables following scientific investigations that linked the preservatives to 13 deaths.

The lawyer representing the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, described sulphites as the “hidden killer” in an article published by The New York Times.

The article noted that many restaurants and salad bars used sulphites to keep fruits and vegetables fresh-looking. This caused several incidents and deaths that came to be known as the “salad bar deaths”.

Sulphites are used to preserve fruits and vegetables to prevent “unpleasant browning”. They are also used on dried fruit and sausages, shrimp and lobsters, to prevent ‘black spots’ in wines and to discourage bacterial growth. Sometimes they are also used to bleach food starches.

In Kenya, undeclared and hidden sulphites in the form of sodium metabisulphite are used by amateurs in unregulated amounts, posing danger to consumers. Sometimes, the chemicals are used to preserve foods such as githeri and beans in restaurants.

The sulphite can combine with anything in your body, for example sodium benzoic (another preservative) to produce benzene which is highly carcinogenic.

Though the use of sulphites in processed foods in not new, and they are found in many processed foods as colourings and preservatives, they are known to release sulphur dioxide, which makes asthma symptoms worse. Scientists attribute the many allergies common in both children and adults to the excessive use of colourings and preservatives.

Sulphites cause skin allergies, gastrointestinal complications, diarrhoea and vomiting.
While the use of sulphites is regulated in most countries, in Kenya, the regulation is unclear, and public health authorities seem unaware that such a lethal preservative is being used to preserve meat. 

In the US, the FDA requires the presence of sulphites to be declared and labelled.
Sulphur is known to have a distinct, unmissable taste.

If your meat tastes sugary, you can almost be certain that a sulphite was used to chemically preserve it.

There is a growing population of people sensitive to sulphites and countless studies have focused on people with strong allergic reactions to sulphites. People with asthma, the studies have established, stand a higher chance of sulphite sensitivity.

Sulphite reactions range from nausea and diarrhoea to shortness of breath and fatal shock.

(Source: The Daily Nation)

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