In a letter addressed to KRA’s Commissioner of Customs, AFA acting Director-General Kelli Harsama said a study of maize coming in from the two neighboring countries revealed that it was unfit for human consumption.
“The authority has been conducting surveillance in the safety of food imports into Kenya. The results from maize imported from Uganda and Tanzania have revealed high levels of mycotoxins that are consistently beyond safety limits,” he stated in the letter.
Mycotoxins such as aflatoxins are toxic compounds occurring naturally and are produced by moulds when foods are not properly stored.
They can be found in food including cassava, chilies, corn, cottonseed, millet, peanuts, rice, sorghum, sunflower seeds, tree nuts, wheat, and a variety of spices while stored in humid places. They can cause illnesses or death in severe cases when ingested.
The letter also cited that Kenyans have contracted acute and chronic aflatoxin-related diseases and some have died over the years.
â€œThe Republic of Kenya is committed to facilitating safe trade with her trading partners and looks forward to working closely with all stakeholders to address the concern,” said the AFA director.
On February 23, the Kenya National Bureau of Standards warned Kenyans of sub-standard maize flour brands. It banned some brands which were being manufactured without certification.
The Ugandan farmers who rely on the Kenyan market for maize sale will now have to seek alternative markets and suffer losses if a ban is executed. Kenyans who also rely on the two countries for maize will also have to find new suppliers.