Mombasa-based Kitui Flour Mills (KFM) has heeded to a directive by the Kenya Bureau of Standards and recalled over 100 tonnes of its Dola brand maize flour over alleged contamination with high levels of cancer-causing aflatoxins.
KFM General Manager Ahmed Taib said they have recalled 48,000 packets of the 2-kg Dola brand maize flour since Sunday.
Mr Taib said the operation is ongoing. He also noted that they have also stopped receiving maize from suppliers until they get clearance from Kebs.
As you can see we have packed all our Dola brands. We are only doing packaging for our Maisha brand,” Taib told journalists.
The miller’s legal officer, Ms Faith Sowayi, added that they have contacted all their clients across the country and notified them about the plans to recall the product shortly after the Kebs’ warning statement on November 9, 2019.
“So far the 48,000 packets that we have recalled are from the major outlets like the supermarkets and other retail outlets across the country…,” said Ms Sowayi, who spoke to K24 on behalf of Mr Taib.
Ms Sowayi, however, maintained that laboratories’ results, both internal and external, have given their products a clean bill of health.
“We have given priority to our clients’ health and that is why we have our laboratories and a team of technicians to test the products before they are further checked by external labs,” she said.
“All our products released to the market are first checked here.”
A lab technician at KFM said that samples of each brand are examined separately using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) machine that tests aflatoxin levels in terms of parts-per-billion (ppb).
“Testing process here takes between 25 to 30 minutes. The maximum allowed levels of aflatoxin is usually 10 ppb while all our products have shown much lower levels of only 1.5 ppb,” said the technician Mr George Magero.
Alpha Grain Limited, the manufacturer of Kifaru Maize Meal, has also maintained its innocence over the same.
In a press statement, Alpha Grain said Kebs in a letter dated November 7, 2019 notified it of plans to randomly pick samples of Kifaru Maize Meal Batch No. PD/18/9/2019 (21.19) for testing.
“As instructed through the contents of the same letter, we proceeded to withdraw the batch in question for purposes of internal and external testing upon which the test results of tolerance levels were lower (1.51ppb) than the allowed maximum limit of 10ppb,” the statement signed by the commercial manager read.
“We distance ourselves from these allegations as a company and assure the public that all products manufactured by Alpha Grain Millers meet the Kebs and EAS quality standard thus fit for consumption.”