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Kenya: Govt. agency bans five maize millers over suspected contamination with cancer-causing aflatoxins; millers' association comments

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has suspended the licences of five maize millers over the sale of substandard flour, hours before the airing of an NTV investigation that reveals how state regulators have let millers flood the market with maize meal contaminated with high levels of cancer-causing aflatoxins.
In a statement, Kebs said it had banned Dola, Kifaru, Starehe, Jembe and 210 maize flour brands as they “do not meet the requirements of Kenyan market standards.” The Cereal Millers Association protested the ban, saying it did not understand the laboratory parameters Kebs used to test the affected brands.

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Article
19 November 2019

Association of Professional Societies in East call for stringent regulation of food manufacturers after suspension of food items due to safety concerns

Author: James Kariuki, Business Daily (Kenya)

"Professionals call for stringent regulation of food companies"

Kenyan professionals want stern corrective measures taken to address the recent withdrawal of maize flour and select peanut butter varieties from retail chain shelves. The Association of Professional Societies in East Africa (APSEA) and its corporate member the Kenya Institute of Food Science and Technology (KIFST) said safety was key to confidence in processed foodstuff. “The suspension of some maize flour brands due to high levels of aflatoxin is of great concern and alarming. We support industrialisation but all the manufacturers must be held accountable at all times as a way of ensuring their products are safe for human consumption,” said APSEA chairman Felix Okatch.

He said manufacturers must ensure raw materials received from suppliers are at zero levels of aflatoxins with moisture content at below 15 percent before processing various product for sale. Mr Okatch said the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), which ordered withdrawal of Dola, Kifaru, Starehe, 210 Two Ten and Jembe maize flour brands as well as seven peanut butter brands — Nuteez, True nuts, Fressy, Supa meal, Sue’s Naturals, Zesta and Nutty by Nature must engage the manufacturers regularly to avert such incidents.

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Article
11 November 2019

Five maize millers suspended for allegedly exposing consumers to cancer by using contaminated maize

Author: Bernard Mwinzi, Daily Nation (Kenya)

"Five maize flour brands banned over cancer exposure"

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) on Saturday suspended the licences of five maize millers over the sale of substandard flour, hours before the airing of an NTV investigation that reveals how state regulators have let millers flood the market with maize meal contaminated with high levels of cancer-causing aflatoxins.
In a statement, Kebs said it had banned Dola, Kifaru, Starehe, Jembe and 210 maize flour brands as they “do not meet the requirements of Kenyan market standards.” The announcement followed a series of calls to the Nation Media Group regarding the investigation, which is understood to have caused panic within the maize meal supply chain. The report, by NTV investigations editor Dennis Okari, airs on Sunday evening.It shows how Kenyans have for decades been exposed to dangerous levels of aflatoxins in maize and maize products, and links some cancer ailments in various parts of the country to this abetting of a wrong by State agencies. Other contaminated foods include meat and meat products, and peanuts.

Last week Kebs suspended seven peanut butter brands and instructed the manufacturers to discontinue production and recall stocks that had already been supplied for sale. The seven were True Nuts, Fressy, Supa Meal, Nuteez, Sue's Naturals, Zesta, and Nutty by Nature. Aflatoxins are produced by fungi and grow on grains that are not dried or stored in proper conditions. They thrive in warm and moist conditions.

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Article
11 November 2019

Millers question laboratory tests used by govt. agency to condemn five maize flour brands

Author: Collins Omulo, Daily Nation (Kenya)

"Millers query Kebs' standards after ban on 5 maize flour brands"

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) is facing criticism by the five maize millers whose licences its suspended on Saturday over high aflatoxin levels in their products. Kebs on Saturday banned sale of Dola by Kitui Four Mills, Kifaru by Alpha Grain Limited, Starehe by Pan African Grain Millers, 210 Two Ten by Kenblest Limited and Jembe by Kensal Rise Limited. This is until the companies take corrective measures to meet Kenya's standards.

On Sunday, Kitui Four questioned the test results and claimed that its internal auditing and tests from external laboratories showed different results. General Manager Abdalla Said further said results differ based on the laboratories used so the "unilateral finding" that informed Kebs' statement cannot be relied upon. He said the finding contradicts reports from several other independent tests, which he said showed an acceptable aflatoxin level of 1.5 parts per billion (ppb) in their product against the maximum limit of 10 ppb by Kenya's standards. “We were taken aback by the notice issued by Kebs, which claims our product has failed the standardisation test," he said...

The Cereal Millers Association also decried the ban, saying it did not understand the laboratory parameters Kebs used to test the affected brands. “Test results for aflatoxins differ from laboratory to laboratory,” said the miller's chairperson, Mr Mohamed Islam. “Therefore, we would like to take time to understand Kebs’ methodology of testing for aflatoxins and compare it with our own independent tests, which we do from time to time."

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