KEBS lifts ban on two maize flour brands; Is ugali now safe?

PHOTO: Courtesy

BY PRUDENCE WANZA- Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) banned five brands of maize flour almost a week ago due to high aflatoxin levels and now they have lifted the ban on two of the brands giving them a go ahead to resume with production.

Dola maize flour manufactured by Kitui Flour Mills Limited and Kifaru Brand manufactured by Alpha Grain Millers were allowed back in the market after implementing the requirements of KEBS. Nuteez peanut butter manufactured by Jetlak industries and Zesta manufactured by Tru foods industries have also been allowed back in the market by the standardization body.

This has created mixed emotions among Kenyans with many worrying about the safety of what they consume and if indeed KEBS is doing enough to ensure quality of products in the Kenyan market.

Questions coming up after the lifting of the ban among them are what measures have been taken to ensure the flour that was unfit for consumption has been destroyed to ensure it does not get back to the market and Whether the ban was really genuine or just a fight from other competitors.

Well, in the letter by the standardization body, the two brands are required to make arrangements with KEBS for destruction of the recalled non-conforming products which means the flour is yet to be destroyed and even if it is not in the market it is still in the hands of the manufacturers.

“Arrange for destruction of the recalled non- conforming products in consultation with KEBS and as required by law.” The letter reads.

Many argue that the ban should have lasted for at least six months if not longer for all requirements to be met by the manufacturers and ensure the flour is fit for human consumption so that we do not have to cause anxiety among Kenyans by banning any other maize flour product at any other time.

KEBS has a mandate to ensure every product is safe for human consumption even before it gets to be placed on the shelves but this has not always been the case.

Banning  a product and later lifting the ban in less than two weeks only increases the anxiety among Kenyans on the quality and safety of what they consume.

The safety of Kenyans should be taken seriously and even if not in everything at least on their most staple food, Ugali.