Ministry of Health Flags Popular Maize Flour Brand; Orders Destruction of Stock Countrywide

Several maize flour packets at a local supermarket
Several maize flour packets at a local supermarket
Food Business Africa

The Ministry of Health flagged a well-known maize flour brand in the country, after tests conducted on various packs established that it contained high levels of aflatoxins.

In a letter dated May 6 and addressed to all public health officers and CEO of the Council of Governors (CoG), Dr. Patrick Amoth the Acting Director General for Health, revealed that the tests had showed that the aflatoxin levels were 714ppb, which was deemed to be way above the recommended levels of 10.0ppb.

"In order to safeguard the health of the consumers, you are required to seize all existing stock in the market of the said brand for disposal," reads part of the letter.

As such, Dr Amoth advised all County Public Health Officers to scale up surveillance of all food products in the market to ensure that counterfeit or toxic food items are not consumed by Kenyans.

Health CS Susan Nakhumicha (right) nd DG Dr Patrick Amoth (left) during at meeting in Nairobi at Ole Sereni on August 8, 2023
Health CS Susan Nakhumicha (right) and DG Dr Patrick Amoth (left) during a meeting in Nairobi at Ole Sereni on August 8, 2023
Ministry of Health

In Nairobi, the County Public Health Officers were asked to carry out an inspection and immediately stop the milling of the specified flour brand and subsequent distribution.

All the officials were urged to adhere to the law while carrying out this directive. To that end, Dr. Amoth listed the Food Drugs and Chemical Substances Act Cap 254 and the Public Health Act Cap 242 as the regulations that needed to be adhered to.

The first Act touches on the prevention of adulteration of food, drugs and chemical substances while the second one offers guidance on securing and maintaining health.

"Expedite action and furnish the Division of Food Safety through the specified contact details with updates and actions taken on the same. Thank you for your continuous support," the medic added.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), long-term exposure to excess aflatoxins has severe effects on a person's internal organs such as the liver and kidneys.

Additionally, the damage can lead to cancers such as that of the liver. The aflatoxins may also result in DNA damage.

"Aflatoxins are considered to be genotoxic carcinogens that induce tumours in the liver of animals and humans," reads an advisory by WHO.

An image shopping at a local supermarket in Nairobi.
A photo of a Kenyan shopping at a local supermarket in Nairobi on March 27, 2019.
Duka Kenya
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