Millions of Kenyans Risk Cancer After Consuming Poisoned Maize Flour

KEBS warns Kenyans orders withdrawal of brands from retail shelves

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Kenya Bureau of Standards has directed supermarkets countrywide withdraw the brands from their shelves. [ Photo / Calla PR ]

The Kenya Bureau of Standards has released the list of maize flour brands it says are contaminated and warned the public against consuming them.

KEBS, the state agency in charge of quality standards, said in a statement some of these products, which are already in retail outlets, do not meet the required standards as they contain higher levels aflatoxin.

Banned maize flour brands

Even as the bans takes effect, there are fears that millions Kenyans mostly in urban centres who rely on processed maize meal may have consumed the contaminated flour and run the risk of developing health complications resulting from the poisoning.

As we published this article, most supermarkets in Nairobi’s CBD were still displaying the brands and unsuspecting shoppers buying. Aflatoxin is known to cause cancer of the liver.

“Following consistent market surveillance and testing,” KEBS said in a press release, “it has been established that these brands have failed because their levels of aflatoxin are higher than the maximum limit allowed by relevant Kenya Standards.”

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The brands named include Dola maize flour produced by Kitui Flour Mills, Kifaru by Alpha Grain Limited, Starehe by Pan African Grain Millers, Two Ten by Kenblest Limited and Jembe by Kensalrise Limited

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KEBS directed the manufacturers to recall the products from the market and institute corrective measures. It said the effectiveness of the measures taken by the manufacturers will be confirmed by KEBS before the suspension of permits is lifted.

“The respective permits have been suspended and the manufacturers instructed to discontinue manufacturing or offering for sale the affected maize meal products,” read part of the statement.

The agency also directed supermarkets countrywide withdraw the brands from their shelves and urged the public to and report any product suspected to be below the standards.

Companies who licences were suspended

No. Brand Manufacturer
1. Dola Maize Meal Kitui Flour Mills P.O.Box 42160 Mombasa
2. Kifaru Maize Meal Alpha Grain Limited P.O Box 21140-00100 Nairobi
3. Starehe Maize Meal Pan African Grain Millers P.O. Box 54214-00200 Nairobi
4. 210 Two Ten Maize Meal Kenblest Limited P.O Box 16-01000, Thika
5. Jembe Maize Meal Kensalrise Limited P.O Box 8216-30100 Eldoret
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Aflatoxins are toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops such as maize, peanuts, cottonseed, and tree nuts.

The main fungi that produce aflatoxins are Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, which are abundant in warm and humid region. Human exposure to aflatoxins raises the risk of liver cancer infection.

This comes barely five days after KEBS, on 4th November, suspended seven peanut butter brands and instructed the manufacturers to discontinue production and recall products that had already been supplied for sale.

The seven were True Nuts (Truenutz Kenya), Fressy (Fressy Food Company Limited), Supa Meal (Supacosm Products Limited), Nuteez (Jetlak Foods Limited), Sue’s Naturals (Nature’s Way Health), Zesta (Truefoods Limited) and Nutty by Nature (Target Distributors).

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KEBS said the suspension followed tests that confirmed high aflatoxin levels.

-BUSINESS TODAY

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