Relief food with aflatoxin apprehended in Makueni

Makueni County Government has seized 21 bags of maize from Kyamutimba Primary School issued as relief food following aflatoxin poisoning.

The Health Executive (CEC), Dr. Andrew Mulwa said the consignment was impounded after tests done at the government chemist revealed high levels of aflatoxin.

The maize contained 95.7 parts per billion (ppb) of aflatoxin way above the permissible 20ppb, said the Health Executive.

Dr. Mulwa said the contaminated maize which was part of the 10, 600 bags of maize procured by the County Government in July as an emergency intervention following a ravaging drought in the County will be destroyed to avert further danger.

The CEC allayed any dangers of aflatoxin poisoning among the pupils, saying that the maize had not been consumed after the school management suspected it could be contaminated.

The school had raised an alarm even before the consumption started, he said.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday, Dr. Mulwa attributed the aflatoxin poisoning to poor storage of the relief food that was distributed to more than 950 Primary Schools across the County.

Before the distribution testing for both moisture content and aflatoxin levels was done and found within permissible levels but most schools stored the food on the floor in poorly ventilated and lighted rooms, he said.

He added that the County Government had instructed 13 other primary schools who feared that the maize supplied could be contaminated with aflatoxin not to consume it until test results for the samples taken are released from the government chemist.

We received complaints from 14 schools and we have instructed the school management not to use the maize until conclusive tests are done, said Dr. Mulwa.

Dr. Mulwa also added that the Department of Health will enhance surveillance within all institutions that received the relief food to ensure that the maize is of good quality and safe for human consumption.

In July the County Government procured relief food worth Sh. 87 million to be distributed in 950 public primary schools and 46 County Technical Institutes (CCTIs) to cushion learners against hunger.

Early this week, several schools from Kaiti Sub County alleged that part of the consignment was contaminated and unfit for human consumption.

Source: Kenya News Agency