Government Sold Poisonous Maize to Kenyans

  • Undated image of maize stored in a warehouse
    Undated image of maize stored in a warehouse
    Capital Group
  • Kenyans consumed maize contaminated with the deadly aflatoxin fungi, according to Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga.

    Members of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) were told by the PS that the Ministry of Health established that 90-kilogram bags of maize were contaminated and of these, there were 176,265 in total.

    Boga explained that the National Cereals and Produce Board sold the contaminated maize after getting approval from the Strategic Food Reserve.

    Undated image of Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga.
    Undated image of Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga.
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    The Agriculture PS noted that a re-sampling of the maize was undertaken by the Ministry of Health and Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).

    This came as shock to MPs who demanded to know whether the information provided by Boga was accurate. In January 2020, KEBS ordered the withdrawal of 17 brands of maize flour from shops and supermarkets, due to high aflatoxin levels that made them unsafe for human consumption.

    KEBS ordered the 17 retailers to immediately withdraw the listed brands from retail outlets, warning that failure to comply could lead to legal action.

    Topping the list of the unfit brands were Tetema and Dola manufactured by Eldoret Grains Limited which are now being banned for the second time after an earlier prohibition by KEBs in November 2019.

    Others on the list include African King by African King Maize Millers, Unique by Ndosha Limited, Mlo by Bidii Limited, City Corn Maize Meal by Central Afya Bora Maize Millers and Sarafina Maize Meal by Century Millers. The withdrawal also included Tosha Maize Meal by Godmesa Foods and Allied limited.

    Ahiba Maize Meal, Hakika Best, Budget Maize Meal, Wema Maize Meal, Jomba by Machakos Millers and Adardere Mupa by Mbaitu Maize Milling were also blacklisted. 

    Afya Maize Meal, Uzima Maize Meal and Sungura Maize Meal by Sungura Unga Millers were also on the list of brands to be withdrawn from the market.

    In the statement signed by the KEBS Director of Surveillance Peter Kaigwara, the decision was reached after thorough monitoring of different brands.

    In November 2019, KEBS banned five maize flour brands on the same grounds, a move that was later withdrawn after the companies improved on the safety of their brands.

    Members of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC)
    Members of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC)
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