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The fake stickers are then used by smugglers and counterfeiters. As a result, when bodies such as Kenya Association of Manufacturers complain about the flooding of the market with counterfeits, their concerns are often not addressed as the institution supposed to ensure standards and quality has been overrun by criminals. That leaves the health and safety of millions of Kenyans in the hands of delinquents whose products are stocked in supermarkets, shops, kiosks and other stores countrywide. Kebs scientists, speaking on condition of anonymity, said some of the products they have examined contain dangerous chemicals such as copper and mercury, which can lead to life-threatening ailments such as cancer. Although some Kebs officials keep raiding supermarkets and stores where some of these goods are kept, their reports are usually ignored by their seniors, hence the contraband remains in the market. Police recently seized sugar worth millions of shillings destined for the local market, and the Nation has learnt that lab tests showed it contained impurities such as copper. Its moisture content was also high — up to 12 per cent — which could lead to the breeding of pathogens in storage. The lab report warned that all the sugar bags “were externally soiled, indicative of poor handling or unclean storage”. Repackaging machines were also seized during the operation. “This was simply, poison and it is a pity that such products enter the market even after we have raised concerns,” said a scientist at Kebs who did not wish to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter. The contraband sugar was seized in the Eastleigh neighbourhood of Nairobi, considered to be the hub of illegal imports and, alongside Kariobangi, the counterfeiting capital of the nation.
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