Kebs accused of ‘selective banning’ of maize flour products
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has been faulted for unfair and selective banning of maize flour products from five millers in the country.
Starehe Community Group, through S.G. Wachira & Co. Advocates, is now demanding for Kebs to rescind the decision to suspend licenses of five maize millers, an act which they termed as unfair, discriminatory, oppressive and unlawful.
On Saturday last week, Kebs suspended the licenses of five maize millers over the sale of substandard flour including Dola, Kifaru, Starehe, Jembe and 210 maize flour brands as they “do not meet the requirements of Kenyan market standards.”
“Our instructions is to oppose the ban of those products and to demand that the decision be rescinded. We also urge you not to yield to pressure by the business competitors of Dola brand and for you to exercise fairness and due diligence,” read the statement by the law firm.
The group argued that the decision by Kebs not to give out details of the levels of afflatoxin in the banned brands raised questions of how the decision was arrived at pointing out that there exist contradictory tests conducted by the government Chemist exonerating Dola brand from the allegations.
They claimed that Kitui Flour Mills is a marked company that other competitors have strenuously fought on the grounds without success and have now resulted to smear campaigns through government institutions.
“Kindly refer to an expose by NTV news which showed that Jogoo, which was not banned, contained 13.87 ppb while Dola had 0. The decisions, therefore, smacks of attempts by the aforesaid competitors to win the battle of supremacy by showing Dola brand in bad light,” said the statement.
On Sunday, Kitui Flour Mills Limited questioned the aflatoxin test results by Kebs arguing that their internal auditing and external laboratories have brought back different results.
The company’s general manager, through a statement, argued that aflatoxin results differ from laboratory to laboratory and so the unilateral finding that informed Kebs statement, differs and contradicts several other independent tests.
The official said their tests and from three other independent laboratories have shown levels of aflatoxin in their product to be at an acceptable level of 1.5 parts per billion (ppb) than the allowed maximum limit of 10 ppb by Kenyan standards.