The recently seized consignment of contraband sugar contains mercury and copper, tests by government chemist have confirmed.
Speaking at the Directorate of Criminal Investigation headquarters in Nairobi on Wednesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi said millions of Kenyans are suspected to have consumed the poisonous sugar disguised as local brands.
Matiangi vowed to crackdown on traders who have been selling the unfit product and those who have been smuggling it into the country from countries such as Brazil.
“I am shocked personally over what we’re doing to our country. Its mind boggling,” Matiangi said.
“We ain’t seen anything. It’s going to be rough. It is hurting the economy. It’s hurting our health. We have firm instructions from the President to proceed without fear, without favour.”
In a multi-agency operation last week, thousands of tonnes of the poisonous product were seized at a godown in Nairobi's Eastleigh estate. The sugar is said to have been smuggled into the country by cartels who comprise powerful individuals in business and political sectors.
Also seized during the operation was a complete packaging set-up with weighing, sewing, sealing and printing machines used to label the smaller packages before they are distributed to the market.
The officers also found fake Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) stickers sourced from the agency through underhand methods.