Maize flour impounded from supermarkets destroyed over aflatoxin

Contaminated maize PHOTO COURTESY

36 tons of contaminated maize flour impounded from supermarkets and retail outlets was on Thursdaydestroyed over containing aflatoxin.

The maize flour had been impounded from shops and supermarkets in Nakuru county.

The move follows a court order obtained in December last year to destroy contaminated maize products inline with the ban of 17 maize flour brands this month by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

Last year, the standardization body suspended the licenses of five maize millers over the sale of substandard flour.

Public Health Chief Officer Dr. Samuel King’ori said the first batch of assorted maize flour seized from Gilgil and Naivasha Sub Counties had already been destroyed.

He revealed that more containers of maize contaminated with aflatoxin that had confiscated in nine other sub-counties were being stored under tight security at various parts of the devolved unit.

Kingori said a multiagency team tested maize meal brands and found some containing high levels of aflatoxin than the average requirement of the Kenya standard making them unsafe for human consumption.

He encouraged the public to report any cases of suspended products still in circulation to the authorities and called on traders to withdraw all banned and contaminated products from their shelves or risk arrest and prosecution.

County Chief Officer Medical Services Dr. Solomon Sirma said aflatoxins are produced by fungi and grow on grains that are not dried or stored in proper conditions.

They thrive in warm and moist conditions.

He said when consumed, the aflatoxin is incorporated into the DNA to form complexes that colonize the liver, leading to the development of mutations that later manifest as cancer.

According to the Cancer National Institute of the US, aflatoxins are a family of toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops such as maize, peanuts, cottonseed, and tree nuts.