Macerated mangoes: Getting a jab in the face from international health officials

“Kenneth bichka.” “Kennedy bichka.” These were the nicknames given to the kilos of fresh mangos that in 2017 hit a price of $5. The macerated fruit — which has teeth and skin to fend…

Macerated mangoes: Getting a jab in the face from international health officials

“Kenneth bichka.”

“Kennedy bichka.”

These were the nicknames given to the kilos of fresh mangos that in 2017 hit a price of $5. The macerated fruit — which has teeth and skin to fend off flies — are sold for more than $8 a kilo.

The macerated fruits originated in Uganda, where the local consumption is the main source of income for many people. However, this macerated fruit has since become a favorite among customers in Kenya, where the macerated fruit is sold in convenience stores.

In March 2017, Kenya’s Ministry of Health informed coffee farmers in western Kenya to prepare for the outbreak of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) and Ebola-like VEIGOL (Vaccine for Ebola Endemic Area) vaccinations. There were fears of the outbreaks catching up with Kenya after neighboring countries. The macerated mango was a popular choice in the fear campaign, but a campaign against the macerated mango will be raised during the 13th World Health Assembly in May, according to a letter submitted to the health council.

Kenya banned the sale of the macerated mango in the country in December 2018. However, some the makers of the mangos from Uganda remain defiant. According to the BBC, one of the main macerated mango manufacturers from Uganda, Pricetex Agriculture, has failed to suspend its operations in Kenya despite its mandate not to send fresh mangoes to the country. “It’s our business,” the company’s production supervisor “Kakeke” told BBC News. “We don’t care if they say [banning of macerated mangoes] will stop us.”

Each macerated mango can be made into six individual pallets which are sold locally for almost twice the price of a commercial tray. In 2015, the market price of a kapenta macerated mango rose from just $0.30 to $2, but reportedly rose to $5 in 2017 and reached $8 this year.

Kenneth the macerated mango was first imported to the United States in 1978 from Kenya. On a visit to Tanzania, JFK was found to have a stem of unknown origin, which the FDA then advised to be removed from circulation. Soon, many people from the Kiboga sub-region in northern Kenya found Kennedy’s reputation unmatched.

Kenneth the macerated mango: having a baby while traveling. (Image via George Bea/Shutterstock)

Other macerated mango products that people have attempted to replicate the flavor include the smoked macerated mango from Uganda and the smoked macerated mango that is currently on sale in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

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