Kebs steps up tests to lock out aflatoxin infested EAC maize – Business Daily

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) Managing Director Bernard Njiraini. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG
Kenya has stepped up surveillance along borders to ensure the safety of maize, as farmers from the East African Community start exporting their produce from this season.
Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) managing director Bernard Njiraini Monday said: “We have positioned our laboratories to do rapid tests. We have intensified our surveillance, testing and frequency and we can guarantee Kenyans that the maize that is coming into the country has met the threshold of the standards,” he said.
Mr Njiraini, who made the remarks in Eldoret during a fact-finding tour in the North Rift region said the grains have to meet the maximum permissible aflatoxin levels of 10 parts per billion to be allowed to enter the Kenyan market.
He said that countries within the region had developed and harmonised their standards to protect consumers in the countries.
“We have an understanding with the countries that the product that is coming from them to our country, should be inspected, certified and issued with the certificate of conformity,” said Lt. Col. (Rtd) Njiraini.
In the past two weeks, the influx of grains from the EAC states has resulted in a drop in the prices in the Kenyan market by Sh400 to Sh2800 per 90-kilogramme bag.
Currently, the maize is retailing at 2,800 for a 90-kilo bag with a similar bag of maize from Tanzania retailing between Tsh60, 000 and Tsh65, 000 whereas Ugandan maize is going for Sh2650.
On February 4, the state agency held deliberation with the cereal millers Association in a bid to promote the quality of the flour in the market.
Aflatoxin has been a major headache in the cereal sector. Last year, the agency recalled maize flour from the market for failure to meet the standards for human consumption.
Mr Njiraini on Monday urged the counties to come up with mechanisms such as the modern dryers to ensure proper post-harvest handling of the grains.
“We have seen moisture content levels contributing to aflatoxin in maize. We want to advise counties to facilitate drying of maize to curb aflatoxin in the grains,” he added.
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By Kwetu Buzz

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