Commerce

State warns unscrupulous maize traders over aflatoxin

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 12:00 | By
Aflatoxin maize. Photo/Courtesy

FOOD: The government and food value chain players have plans to launch a crackdown on unscrupulous traders selling maize infected with aflatoxin.

Line ministries of Agriculture and Health, Kenya Bureau of Standards, both small and large-scale millers and cereal growers are expected to lead the onslaught against the unscrupulous business actors.

 Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said the fight against will be deepened to ensure the population is protected against food poison.

“We will ensure all the players have been engaged including the county governments.

But more so ensure the industry players fast track self-regulation and monitoring,” he said in Nairobi.  

Aflatoxin levels in maize and groundnuts in hot spot counties are known for have increased up to 1,500 parts per billion (ppb) compared to recommended 10ppb.  

Millers in the recent past raised an alarm over the increasing consumption of maize in the informal market as owners of posho mills and smaller unregulated mills continue producing maize flour using rejected maize.  

Poor regulation by responsible private and government agencies, the millers claim has created an opportunity to sell contaminated maize to consumers by dishonest traders, casting doubts on efforts to tame the increasing cost of health in the country. 

Cereal Millers Association claim rejection rates due to aflatoxins contamination in the past three months have been in the range of 32 per cent to 69 per cent.

“Through our data collection mechanisms, our information on rejection levels is fairly accurate said chief executive, Paloma Fernandes.

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