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Damning report reveals compromised hygiene standards in Nairobi hotels

The Nairobi County Assembly Sectoral Committee on Health recently tabled a report detailing the state of hygiene in Nairobi’s hotels and restaurants, exposing the rot in the issuance of food handling certificates.

The health committee, chaired by Mountain View Ward MCA Maurice Ochieng, was mandated to find out the list of companies contracted by the executive to issue food handlers certificates.

The committee also sought to find out whether the contacts were advertised, the terms and conditions of the contracts and if the said companies submit monthly or weekly reports to the county government.

They also sought to find out whether there is a policy and criteria for the issuance of food handlers certificates by private companies on behalf of the county government.

At the end of its mandate, the committee found that most hotels and restaurants in the capital had lowered their standards of hygiene.

The report revealed that out of 15 hotels, only three hotels, namely Hill Park Hotel, Bream House Restaurant and Saape Limited, had genuine Food Handler Certificates issued to their staff by the STC Casino Clinic.

street food vendors
The vendors who cater to the needs of city residents by selling a variety of snacks from smokies, and boiled eggs to samosa at times find themselves arrested by County Officials for their lack of safety hygiene certificates which allow them to handle food sold to public. PHOTO| FILE


The other 12 hotels have illegitimate certificates issued by illegitimate private companies.

The committee also noted that according to the report submitted to it by the County Food Handling and Medical Certification Unit, there were 580 fake food handlers certificates in Nairobi as of June 2023.

It also stated that the county was losing up to billions of shillings to perpetrators of illegal food handling certificates.

The committee also stated that during its fact-finding mission to food and snack vendors in the CBD, these eateries were operating without food handling certificates, instead paying a certain amount of money to the authorities to continue selling from their various points.

“The food vendors told the committee how informal kiosk vendors at Bus Station, Muthurwa and Machakos Country Bus were being charged Sh200 cash per day by the county health officers to allow them to continue operating and were not given a receipt as proof of payment,” the report said.

The street food vendors who sold food on the streets informed the committee that they were charged Sh100 cash daily by the county to allow them to continue operating and were not given any receipt as proof of payment.

“They further informed the committee that foreigners had encroached on the food vending business and that they were allowed to do so by the county officials because they were charged Sh400 in cash every day to run their business and were not given any receipt as proof of payment.”

They complained of corruption by county health officials and county enforcement officers, who arrested hotel workers for failing to give them bribes and were subsequently arrested and overburdened with heavy fines.


Based on the findings, the Committee found that the Acting County Director for Environmental Health, Ms Margaret Sunguti, committed an abuse of office and should be investigated by DCI detectives.

The County Health CEC, Ms Susan Silantoi, was asked by the committee to close down the laboratory at the Lady Northey Dispensary as it wasn’t operational and was issuing illegal certificates to hoteliers.

It also recommended that all food and snack vendors in the county should be tested and issued with Food Handler Certificates, as failure to maintain food safety poses a health hazard to the public.