The Kenyan government’s Agriculture and Food Authority has announced a ban on maize imports from Uganda and Tanzania on allegations that they contain carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances.
On March 05, Agriculture and Food Authority’s acting director general Kello Harsama wrote to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) commissioner of customs Pamela Ahago informing her that the regulator had “stopped any further imports of maize into Kenya with immediate effect.”
Harsama explained that the “the Authority has been conducting surveillance on the safety of food imports to Kenya,” and that “test results for maize imported from Uganda and Tanzania have revealed high levels of mycotoxins that are consistently beyond safety limits.”
“Mycotoxins, especially aflatoxins and fumonisins are known to be carcinogenic. Over the years a number of acute and chronic aflatoxin related illness cases have been recorded in Kenya including deaths,” the acting director general noted.
In the same letter copied to agriculture, livestock, fisheries and cooperatives cabinet secretary Peter Munya, the Agriculture and Food Authority noted it was “committed to facilitating safe trade with her [Kenya’s] trading partners and look forward to working closely with all stakeholders to address the concern.”