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Government bans maize importation over aflatoxin

The Government has stopped the importation of maize from Tanzania and Uganda with immediate effect following high levels of aflatoxin in the maize.

A letter by Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) acting director-general Kello Harsana dated March 5, 2021, revealed that the maize imported from the two neighbouring countries was found to contain high levels of mycotoxins which are consistently beyond the limits of 10 parts per billion (ppb).

‘’We wish to bring to your attention that AFA has stopped any further imports of maize into Kenya with immediate effect. The republic of Kenya is, however, committed to facilitating safe trade with her trading partners and look forward to partner with all stakeholders to address the matter,’’ Harsana said.

The letter was copied by the Ministry of Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, saying that the agency has been carrying out surveillance on imported food safety.

Long queues of trucks were witnessed on Saturday at the Namanga border after the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) reportedly denied the trucks access into Kenya.

Also, in Longido District on March 6, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture Bashe noted that the Government of Tanzania is taking the ban on maize imports seriously.

The Government, through the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KeBS) in 2019, also stopped and banned the sale and manufacture of five maize flour brands over the same concern of high aflatoxin levels.

In a statement released to the press at the time, KeBS ordered Kifaru, Dola, 210, Jembe and Starehe maize flour millers to withdraw their products from the market since they contained high levels of aflatoxin.

‘The respective permits have been suspended, and the millers asked to discontinue manufacturing or offering for sale the affected maize meal products,’ ’read the statement in part.

The aforementioned manufactures were further instructed to recall all the substandard maize meal products from the market and institute corrective actions.

KeBS also called on supermarkets across the country to pull the maize meal products off their shelves.

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