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Professionals call for stringent regulation of food companies

Felix Okatch
Association of Professional Societies in East Africa Chairman Felix Okatch. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

Kenyan professionals want stern corrective measures taken to address the recent withdrawal of maize flour and select peanut butter varieties from retail chain shelves.

The Association of Professional Societies in East Africa (APSEA) and its corporate member the Kenya Institute of Food Science and Technology (KIFST) said safety was key to confidence in processed foodstuff.

“The suspension of some maize flour brands due to high levels of aflatoxin is of great concern and alarming. We support industrialisation but all the manufacturers must be held accountable at all times as a way of ensuring their products are safe for human consumption,” said APSEA chairman Felix Okatch.

He said manufacturers must ensure raw materials received from suppliers are at zero levels of aflatoxins with moisture content at below 15 percent before processing various product for sale.

Mr Okatch said the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), which ordered withdrawal of Dola, Kifaru, Starehe, 210 Two Ten and Jembe maize flour brands as well as seven peanut butter brands — Nuteez, True nuts, Fressy, Supa meal, Sue’s Naturals, Zesta and Nutty by Nature must engage the manufacturers regularly to avert such incidents.

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“Kebs must continuously uphold high-quality control and assurance standards in sampling, analysing and communicating to the manufacturer and the consumer concerning food products. This should include random sampling of food products in the retail outlets,” he said.

Mr Okatch said the Kebs, the National Cereals and Produce Board and suppliers must monitor cereals’ preservation to transportation to millers to ensure only quality raw materials are processed.

He said millers should also analyse all supplies and flag any consignment received as well as engage farmers to improve crop husbandry practices.

The Five maize millers, whose licences were suspended, criticised the standards regulator over the move.

They questioned the test results and claimed that the Keb’s internal auditing and tests from external laboratories showed different results.

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