KENYA – The food industry must make a more concerted effort to control Aflatoxins in the food supply chain, according to the head of food safety at Kenya’s ministry of health, Robert Kilonzo.
“There has been a hike in the occurrence of cancer in Kenya and several African countries in the last few years.
“With research showing that 5-28% of cancers are caused by Aflatoxins, the risk to public health is of great concern to governments in teh region.
“Food companies have to ensure Aflatoxins contaminated foods don’t reach the table of the consumer,” he warns.
The high rate of consumption of maize in local diets provides a risk that may not be reflected in other parts of the World. In Eastern Africa, it is common for consumers to have maize based foods for breakfast, lunch and supper.
“As a miller, you have the ultimate responsibility to ensure that only safe food is sold to the consumer.
By placing your brand and label on the product and availing the product into the market, you take direct responsibility if the product is found in the market which doesn’t meet the set Aflatoxins limits,” he advised the delegates
Kilonzo was giving a speech at the recently concluded AFMASS Eastern & Central Africa Conference and Expo that took place in Nairobi, Kenya.
He says that the industry has to find ways to improve sampling procedures to ensure that test results are true reflection of the status of the whole consignment.
“Further, we are concerned that there are some of the industry players who continue to buy maize that has been rejected by other law abiding millers, defeating the purpose of having food safety standards in the first place.
“We urge the industry in a collaborative manner to find mechanisms that shall ensure that rejected consignments are reported to the authorities and that they are not sold to other players in the sector,” he said.
“We also continue to face challenges with alternative use of Aflatoxins contaminated maize products.
With small-scale operations in the region, it is exceedingly difficult to segregate various levels of contamination, and thereby guide the industry on alternative use of maize products that cannot be used for human consumption,” he concluded.
About AFMASS Eastern & Central Africa Conference & Expo
The AFMASS Eastern & Central Africa Conference & Expo is organized by FoodWorld Media Ltd, the publishers of the African food and beverage industry focused magazines Food Business Africa, Dairy Business Africa and Agri-Business Africa, among other publications.
The 2016 edition of the premier industry trade event took place at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Nairobi, Kenya from June 8-10, 2016.
The event brought together over 350 industry business leaders, suppliers to the food and beverage industry, Government regulators and NGOs involved in the food supply chain from Africa, Americas, Europe and Asia to deliberate on ways to improve food processing, food packaging and food safety, with a focus on Eastern and Central Africa.
The next AFMASS Eastern & Central Africa Conference & Expo is planned for March 22-24, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya.
A few significant changes in 2017 will see the set up of one exhibition, but with two parallel conferences:
1) The African Food Manufacturing & Safety Summit (AFMASS) Conference will focus on the beverage; dairy; baking & snacks; fruit and vegetables; sugar and confectionery; meat; and other processed food sectors;
2) The newly introduced African Grains, Milling & Feed (AFGRAINS) Conference will cover the formulation, post-harvest management, processing, packaging and food safety in grains, milled products and animal feed.