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Take heed, your ugali meal may be toxic

By Moses Njagih | November 10th 2019
A man enjoys a meal of Ugali and Omena in Nairobi. [File, Standard]

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has ordered that five maize flour brands, some which are very popular among Kenyans, be removed from the market after they were found to be unfit for human consumption.

The bureau has suspended the permits for Dola maize flour, manufactured by Kitui Flour Mills, Kifaru by Mombasa’s Alpha Grain Limited, Starehe made by Pan African Grain in Nairobi; 210 Two Ten Maize Meal by the Thika-based Kenblest Limited and Jembe maize meal manufactured by Kensalrise Limited in Eldoret.

Kebs yesterday said they had further instructed manufacturers of the brands to immediately discontinue making the maize flours and recall those already in the market after it had established that they contained high levels of aflatoxin, higher than the allowed maximum limits.

The standards regulator directed supermarkets and shops countrywide to move with speed and withdraw the brands from the shelves before any further distribution, while manufacturers were ordered to institute corrective actions to reduce aflatoxin levels in the grain they are using.

“The affected manufacturers will be required to institute corrective actions whose effectiveness shall be confirmed by Kebs before the suspension of permits is lifted,” said Kebs in a statement yesterday.

Kebs said it had detected the high levels of aflatoxin after conducting several tests on the product in the markets during their routine market surveillance.

“It is then that it was established that the brands have failed because their levels of aflatoxin is higher than the maximum limit allowed by relevant Kenya standards,” Kebs added.

The manufacturers were cautioned against further production, with the standards regulator saying it will be undertaking market surveillance and factory inspections to monitor if their directives are being followed. “Substandard products found will be seized for destruction at the expense of the owner in addition to any other legal actions as provided under the law, including alerting the public,” added Kebs.

The agency added: “We encourage the public to be on the lookout and inform Kebs upon encountering any products suspected to be substandard”.

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