KENYA – Carrefour Kenya has reassured consumers across the country of consistent meat quality offered on its shelves affirming that it does not use preservatives to prolong the shelf life of meat.

This follows an expose by a local media on the rampant use of chemicals and preservatives by some butcheries and retailers to extend the keeping life of meat.

It was revealed that retailers and butchers especially in urban centres have been engaging in unregulated use sodium metabisulphite for the preservation as well as enhancing colour in red meat.

However, as one of the leading retailers in the country, Carrefour Kenya has distanced itself from the use of any chemicals and or preservatives to extend the shelf life of meat or any other food items in its stores across the country.

Carrefour affirmed its committement to ensuring health and wellbeing of the consumers while noting that the retailer applies international hygiene standards to guarantee food safety.

The firm maintains that it has “an efficient traceability system that allows us to remove meat from our display units before expiry” while adding that is also working closely with its partners and suppliers to ensure compliance at all levels.

“Carrefour will continue to follow international best practices to serve the best interests of the business and our customers by promoting an organisational culture committed to integrity, ethical conduct, and compliance with the law,” the retailer said in a statement.

Amid the increasing demand and consumption of meat in the east African country, authorities have called upon the consumers to be on the lookout when purchasing meat across retail outlets and butcheries.

Sodium Metabisulphite as a preservative

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prohibited the use of Sodium Metabisulphite as a preservative in meats, vitamin B1 food sources, raw fruit cuts and vegetables.

FDA also requires that detectable levels of sulphites be declared on food labels.

Sodium metabisulphite, a white and water soluble powder, has been associated with allergic reaction when consumed in amounts above the permissible level and even poses adverse health effects to pregnant women.

This substance is generally recognized as safe when used in accordance with good manufacturing practice.

Other than use in the food industry, Sodium metabisulphite is also used in clinical hematology, pharmaceutical industry and textile industries.