KENYA – In an alliance to combat the silent but deadly menace of aflatoxins, Bio Food Products Ltd (Bio Foods) and USAID have unveiled the “Safe Milk Kenya” partnership, an initiative aimed at safeguarding consumer health and fortifying the economic resilience of Kenyan dairy farmers.

This collaborative effort responds to the alarming reality that over 80% of dairy products in Kenya harbor  aflatoxins, imperceptible toxins linked to a significant cancer burden in the country.

Launched in the presence of top government officials, including US Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman and Managing Director Kenya Dairy Board Margaret Kibogy, the partnership has received a substantial commitment of U.S$240,000 from USAID, complemented by Bio Foods’ investment of nearly U.S$300,000.

Ambassador Whitman underscored the initiative’s strategic approach, emphasizing the imperative to equip Kenyan dairy farmers with knowledge and tools to produce safer, higher-quality milk.

“I am very passionate about agriculture and smallholder farmers. The partnership is between us and Bio Foods, not just about business. We intend to ensure every Kenyan has access to safe food,” she said.

Holistic approach to tackle aflatoxin across the value chain

The “Safe Milk Kenya” project adopts a holistic approach, addressing aflatoxin contamination not only along the milk value chain but also empowering the hands that nurture these products – the Kenyan farmers.

Joachim Westerveld, Executive Chairman and CEO of Bio Foods, expressed the company’s commitment to upholding the highest global standards for the benefit of both farmers and consumers.

The campaign emerges as a response to the prevalent danger of aflatoxin contamination in Kenyan dairy, impacting animal productivity, causing fatalities, and posing severe health risks to consumers, including cancer.

The end-to-end value chain-oriented initiative seeks to reduce aflatoxin contamination, ensuring the safety and quality of dairy products in Kenya.

Government alignment and awareness campaign

The initiative aligns seamlessly with the Kenyan government’s objective of enhancing milk safety and quality.

PS Agriculture and Livestock Development, Jonathan Mueke, highlighted the significance of increasing dairy farmers’ incomes, fostering consumer confidence, and overall improvement in the dairy industry.

“Milk plays a big part in the agricultural sector. We are aimed at increasing dairy farmers’ incomes, fostering consumer confidence, and overall improvement in the dairy industry,” he said.

The launch brought together key players from the private, public, and development sectors, emphasizing a united front against aflatoxin contamination.

Nairobi Deputy Governor James Njoroge commended the initiative as timely, addressing a critical challenge to food safety.

The “Safe Milk Kenya” project aims to raise awareness among consumers and farmers about the health impact of aflatoxin in milk.

Through extensive training and advice on mitigation measures, the initiative seeks to empower farmers with techniques and tools to produce safe dairy products. Additionally, the project will test and monitor production processes to limit contamination, aligning with Bio Foods’ mission of ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food.

For all the latest food safety news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.