KEBS Releases Findings After Indomie Poisoning Scare 

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    An image of Indomie instant noodles.
  • The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) on Thursday, May 12, said preliminary tests on Indomie sold in Kenya did not exhibit any signs of excessive aflatoxins.

    KEBS, while releasing its findings into the investigations on the popular quick fix meal following a poisoning scare that saw the product banned in a number of African countries, stated that the product in the Kenyan market was safe for human consumption. 

    Speaking to Citizen TV, KEBS Managing Director, Lt Col (Rtd) Benard Njiraini, stated that preliminary results of tests carried out on samples had no indication of any poisonous substance that would harm Kenyans.

    Njiraini added that the aflatoxin level in the products was within the recommended limits and thus did not pose any risk to consumers.

    Managing Director Bernard Njiraini making his remarks during the World Standards Celebration on October 15, 2020
    Capital Group

    "There are no aflatoxins beyond the 10 parts-per-billion (ppb) that is required of the standard," affirmed Njiraini.

    He further noted that the Indomie retailed in stores is manufactured locally and not imported from Egypt - the country that first raised the alarm on the product. He explained that the manufacturer only bought rights to use the franchise.

    "We did not import any product from Egypt. However, we have a local manufacturer of Indomie instant noodles. The trademark could be a franchise but the company producing this material is sourcing the material from locals while importing some of the ingredients," he added.

    KEBS Head of Testing Division, Tom Oduor, explained that the biochemistry lab had taken samples from across the country for analysis. The products were to be tested for aflatoxin levels and pesticide residue.

    He noted that the results on the pesticide residue would take longer owing to the lengthy laboratory procedure of preparing the samples and the wide variety of pesticides to look out for.

    "For pesticides, it takes about four hours to get one sample ready. When we talk of pesticide residue, it is a big population of about 80 being scrutinized in one sample," he noted.

    On May 5, the Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) asked Kenyans to refrain from purchasing or consuming Indomie instant noodles following concerns raised by the COMESA Competition Commission. The Food and Safety Authority in Egypt had also recalled the product citing safety reasons.

    Among the flavours under scrutiny in Egypt were the chicken, chilli and vegetables while in Ghana, the chicken flavour was flagged for not being a registered product in the market.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to large quantities of pesticides may pose health risks to individuals including acute poisoning, cancer and adverse effects on reproduction.

    An image of KEBS offices
    A file image of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) offices in Kisumu.