Customs intercepts one million bags of toxic rice

In addition, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) refused to clear more than 400 containers of 20kg jerricans of cooking oil from Malaysia.

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti said rogue importers were printing new bags that were transported to the high seas and used to repackage the contaminated rice.

“Yes, it’s true we have impounded about one million bags of rice stored in some warehouses in Mombasa. We believe some of the toxic rice may have been sneaked into the market,” Mr Kinoti said.

The DCI said the cartel, working with customs officials, facilitated entry of the contraband rice.

“They print new bags with fresh expiry dates then repackage the rice ready for entry through the port. Some of the rice had been condemned about three years ago as unfit for human consumption,” he added.

The Palm Oil Refiners Association of Malaysia (Poram) has already petitioned its government to intervene and have the oil shipped back to Malaysia.

Poram Chief Executive Officer Teoh Beng Chuan said the oil was impounded as it did not have 20mg/kg of vitamin A as required.

“We have further been informed that the exporters’ request to take ownership of the cargo and re-ship it to another destination has also been denied. Meanwhile, the containers continue to remain in the port yard incurring additional storage charges beyond the 14 days free period allowed,” Mr Chuan said.

The letter to Malaysia’s Deputy Secretary General (Trade), Ministry of International Trade and Industry adds: “We therefore seek your kind assistance to have Kenyan authorities to resolve this impasse urgently as it affects the image of Malaysian palm oil industry in addition to the cost involved if its further delayed.”