The Ministry of Health has moved to address a controversial billboard by manufacturing company, Mjengo Limited, brand owner of Nuvita biscuits and Daawat Rice.

Through the Department of Public Health, the Ministry has ordered the company to take down the billboard which has been deemed ‘misleading’ by nutritionists.

The directive comes after a public outcry from Kenyans on social media since the billboard was mounted over a week ago.

The billboard shows a picture of cookies wrapped in a bow with the message “A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand”.

“Even if the cookies have all the nutrients, it still does not qualify to be a balanced diet because balanced diets is about choosing food from different food groups, combining them and eating them thrice a day to get all the necessary nutritional values,” explained Gladys Mugambi, who heads the Kenya Nutrition and Dietetics Unit.

Following the uproar, Director of Public Health Kepha Ombacho on Wednesday sent a notice to all county public health officers to ensure that the billboard is removed as it is against the provision of the Food, Drugs and Chemical Substance Act, Chapter 254.

“This claim has not been cleared for advertisement and therefore such advert must be brought down immediately and legal action taken against the owners,” the notice reads in part.

Ombacho further cautioned against the use of artificial methods to fasten the ripening of fruits. He noted that traders use Calcium Carbide which poses a serious health hazard including cancer.

Here is a copy of the circular.