EAST AFRICA – In the wake of suspension of seven peanut butter brands from the Kenyan market by Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) on 4th November 2019, the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) have as well suspended the importation, sale and distribution of the brands in their country.

The seven products suspended are True nuts by Truenutz Kenya, Fressy by Fressy Food Company, Supa Meal by Supacosm Products, Nuteez by Jetlak Foods, Sue’s Naturals by Nature’s Way Health, Zesta by Trufoods and Nutty peanut butters by Target Distributors.

The Kenyan standard body directed the manufacturers to recall all their products from the market, discontinue from supplying them and suspend their permits following test results undertaken by the agency which signified high level of Aflatoxin than the maximum limit allowed in the products.

Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) acting director general Charles Karangwa has instructed all importers and supermarkets to report to Rwanda FDA, within 10 working days, on imported, distributed and returned quantities and available stock per brand.

A statement from the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) noted that the ban would be in effect until further notice and inspectors at border points have been ordered to seize all consignments with the identified brands.

KEBS did not indicate the extent to which each of the products had breached the legal aflatoxin levels.

However, the Kenya Standard, ‘KS EAS 60: 2013, a legal specification for peanut butter, states that the maximum total aflatoxin content, should be 15 parts per billion (ppb), and gives maximum value for aflatoxin B15 ppb maximum.

On 9th November, KEBS further suspended the licences of five maize millers accused of selling substandard flour as they do not meet the requirements of Kenyan market standards.

The five are Dola by Kitui Four Mills, Kifaru by Alpha Grain Limited, Starehe by Pan African Grain Millers, 210 Two Ten by Kenblest Limited and Jembe by Kensal Rise Limited.

Kebs said the ban followed market surveillance and multiple reports from the public.

“Kebs has noted that some brands of maize meal products offered for sale do not meet requirements. The permits have been suspended and the manufacturers instructed to discontinue manufacturing or offering for sale the affected maize meal products,” it said in a statement.

The ban followed an uproar from millers condemning the country’s standards regulator over its testing protocols of the deadly toxin.

Kitui Flour Mills, whose Dola brand was one of the affected faulted the move by KEBS, arguing that its internal and third-party testing of its maize meal products revealed that its products conformed to the requirements.