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Fast food chains invade Kenya, unleashing obesity, NCDs

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With more money in their pockets, Africans are eating more fast food and adopting more sedentary lifestyles, leading to a surge in obesity and associated diseases like diabetes and cancer, experts say. PHOTO | FILE 

By Gladys Onyango

Posted  Monday, December 12   2016 at  18:18

In Summary

  • Without serious efforts to address the impact of foreign trade and investment on Kenya’s local food landscape, any gains in the national NCD response will be short-lived or symbolic at best.

Perhaps more pressingly, Kenya must develop comprehensive national food safety and nutritional quality standards and regulations deploying a combination of voluntary and involuntary measures such as penalties for use of harmful ingredients, greater point-of-sale transparency through accurate labelling in line with the Codex Alimentarius Guidelines, as well as stringent measures to protect local consumers from unethical marketing practices that deceive the public about the safety and nutritional value of fast and processed foods.

Without serious efforts to address the impact of foreign trade and investment on Kenya’s local food landscape, any gains in the national NCD response will be short-lived or symbolic at best.

It is time to stand up and challenge unexamined open trade policies and weak food safety regulations that are mortgaging our nation’s health and our children’s futures under the guise of foreign direct investment.

Gladys Onyango is currently doing a masters degree in International Development at the University of California, Berkeley.

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