Traders in Machakos have moved with haste to withdraw the five brands of maize flour banned by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) on Saturday owing to high aflatoxin contents.
The KEBS suspended the permits of Dola, Kifaru, Two Ten, Starehe and Jembe maize flour brands and ordered the manufacturers to discontinue manufacturing and offering for sale the affected maize meal products in addition to recalling all the substandard products.
A spot check by Kenya News Agency on Monday morning in major supermarkets and other retail shops within Machakos town revealed that the traders had adhered to the directive.
This reporter found out that the two Naivas supermarkets located within the town had not stocked any of the banned maize flour brand on their shelves.
The situation was no different at the neighbouring Mulleys Supermarkets where only the brands whose permits had not been cancelled where stocked.
An attendant at the Naivas supermarket who requested anonymity informed KNA that they used to stock one of the banned brands, which they have since withdrawn to avoid any legal action from the authorities or even the risk of losing their customers.
He further informed this reporter that the management of the supermarket had also canceled all the orders that they had previously placed for the flour brands.
KEBS monitors and tests products to ensure compliance with Kenya’s health standards in addition to awarding a certificate to manufacturers to implement supervision.
A certified manufacturer is required to adhere to the certification scheme of supervision throughout the validity period of one year.
KEBS has also provided a platform where the members of public can verify whether the S-Mark permit on the product is valid by sending the code underneath the S-Mark to 20023 (SM#Code) to get product manufacturing details.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), aflatoxins are poisonous substances produced by certain kinds of fungi that are found naturally all over the world; they can contaminate food crops and pose a serious health threat to humans and livestock.
WHO states that aflatoxins are potent carcinogens and may affect all organ systems, especially the liver and kidneys, can cause liver cancer and have been linked to other types of cancer
The health authority further states that aflatoxins also pose a significant economic burden, causing an estimated 25 per cent or more of the world’s food crops to be destroyed annually.
By Stephen Kimanthi /Rachael Kilonzo