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MoH flags batch of Sherehe GSM maize flour over high aflatoxin level

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Tests on Sherehe GSM maize flour with no batch number have shown it contains a high level of aflatoxin, ministry says.

The Ministry of Health has flagged a popular maize flour brand after tests showed it had a high aflatoxin level.

Patrick Amoth, the Acting Director General for Health, issued a letter dated May 6, 2024, to all public health officers and the chief executive of the Council of Governors (CoG), notifying them that the aflatoxin levels in the flour were much higher than recommended.

"Laboratory analysis on April 30, of Sherehe GSM maize flour with no batch number has shown that the flour contains a high level of aflatoxin above the requirements of 10.0 ppb. The level records 714ppb," he said.

As a result, the Ministry of Health ordered the confiscation of all of the flour from the market for disposal.

"To safeguard the health of the consumers, you are required to seize all existing stock in the market, of the said brand, for disposal. You are advised to scale up surveillance of all food products on the market."

Amoth further directed Nairobi County officers to inspect the mill creating the brand in question and immediately stop the operation as well as distribution.

They were asked to adhere to the legal provisions stipulated in the Food Drugs and Chemical Substances Act, Cap. 254, and the Public Health Act, Cap. 242.

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

The main fungi that produce aflatoxins are Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, which are abundant in warm and humid regions of the world.

The institute further states that aflatoxin-producing fungi can contaminate crops in the field, at harvest, and during storage.

It is also stated that exposure to aflatoxins is associated with an increased risk of liver cancer.

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