KENYA – The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has ordered the manufacturers of 14 maize flour brands that it deemed unfit for human consumption to withdraw the products from the market.

According to the bureau, the manufacturers of the 14 brands did not comply with the required standards.

The affected brands include Ndovu maize flour, Prestige sifted maize, sima tamu, range corn, top white, diamond sifted maize, Bel’s organic, winnies ugali afya, family. Others are Jasiri sifted maize, Jema sifted maize, Mugambo sifted maize, Jibe maize flour and Jodari.

The KEBS Director of Market Surveillance, Peter Kaigwara, in a letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of Retail Traders Association of Kenya (RETRAK), Ms Wambui Mbarire, informed the retailers to recall all the affected batches and remove them from their supply chain in all outlets across the country.

“Following market surveillance conducted on maize meal brands in circulation across the country in the month of October, 2021, KEBS detected non-compliance with the Standards Act Cap 496, laws of Kenya. We encourage your members to share with us the quantities of each of the brands withdrawn from the shelves to enable us track them and ensure that what is unfit is not returned into circulation,” the letter read in part.

Mr. Kaigwara advised RETRAK to encourage its members to always validate the quality marks of the products stocked for sale and to remind them that any person found offering for sale sub-standard product that contravene the law that they are liable for prosecution.

The standards body has also issued a warning to the millers to comply with the set standards for other batches yet to be tested, before they are put up for sale. KEBS noted that the move shouldn’t be considered as a total ban but an action aimed at giving the millers a chance to take corrective action and ensure quality products are made available for consumers.

Substandard flour brands

The country has in the past tussled with cases of substandard maize flour brands being brought into the limelight. The major concern is due to the high levels of aflatoxin, toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in a past study, estimated that about 25 percent of food produced globally is destroyed yearly due to dangerous levels of aflatoxin. High levels of aflatoxin leads to acute poisoning due to constant damaging of the liver.

Other crops affected by the toxins are rice, sorghum, millet, wheat, cassava, nuts, groundnuts, cotton seeds, sunflower and coconut.

This recall follows action by KEBS to ban 27 flour brands in mid-August  2021 citing non-compliance.

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