The problem of satisfying the dietary requirements of a growing world population is becoming increasingly acute. Foods which make a significant contribution to the food balance sheet for the average Kenyan include meat, milk, cheese, chicken, pork, honey, beeswax, eggs, fish and other animal products. Others are crops such as spinach, strawberries, grapes, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, maize, soy, wheat, oats and fruits

During production of these foods, antibiotics, pesticides, fungicides, hormones and chemicals (which I will henceforth refer to as drug inputs) are needed. Use of the drug inputs in livestock, fish and poultry improves the rate of weight gain, improves feed efficiency, or prevents and treats diseases. The inputs are also used to kill pests and weeds during livestock and crop production.

Without the drug inputs, farmers would produce less food, the quality of food supply would be decreased, storage life of some fresh foods would be reduced, and some food would be less safe because it would contain harmful bugs.

But the use of the drug inputs also comes with a health and environmental risk associated with residues of the drug inputs that remain in the tissues of treated crops, fish, chicken and food animals. These residues are eventually consumed by man and are absorbed by our bodies and metabolized to harmful products.

This then means that, on the one hand, there is a benefit of improved production using the drug inputs, while on the other hand there is a risk of consuming residues left over in the foods that we eat. The public health concerns that are associated with consuming the residues may include long or short term allergic reactions, antibiotic resistance and toxicity, deformed embryos and cancers.

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