Peanut Market News February 07, 2019
The government has ordered all Nuteez peanut butter off the market after samples tested positive for dangerous levels of aflatoxin.
Director of Public Health Dr Kepha Ombacho yesterday said the brand would only be restocked if it is cleared after more tests.
“Certificate of laboratory analysis has shown the butter is contaminated with aflatoxin at 24.08ppb, which is above the maximum limit provided in the national standards,” he said in a circular to all county public health officers.
Aflatoxin is a chemical produced by naturally occurring fungus in soil, decaying vegetation and grains.When consumed, it can cause serious damage to the kidneys and liver, including causing cancer and death.
Ombacho said more batches of the Nuteez should be tested.
“Scale-up surveillance on compliance of all foodstuffs to food safety standards, regulations should be sustained,” he said.
The move comes after the Government Chemist on Tuesday confirmed dangerous aflatoxin levels in an 800gm container.
“The peanut butter exceeds the maximum required limit for total aflatoxin ( 10ppb), hence unfit for human consumption,” the report said.
Government Chemist Ali Gakweli said the results were only for the 800gm sample that was tested. “Peanut butter may be prone to aflatoxin when poorly stored. However, this is just for the sample submitted for analysis,” he told the Star.
The sample was submitted by Kapsabet municipality public health officer Linus Kogo on January 23. Kogo told the Star he submitted many batches suspected to be infected and was expecting more results.
“We submitted the samples as part of routine surveillance, because we maintain high suspicion levels,” he said. “We are complying with the directive from the Director of Public Health. So we are ensuring all Nuteez is removed from the shops.”
Nuteez is manufactured by Jetlak Foods Ltd, a Thika-based firm that also sells the Fruitville juices.
Managing director Anup Bid said they learnt of the laboratory tests on social media. “We are not in receipt of any letter or correspondence thereof from the Ministry of Interior and we are thus in the process of investigating the purported claim,” he said.
He defended the company’s manufacturing processes.
Eliminating aflatoxin on the farm and during crop storage is the key to preventing contamination.
Aflatoxin does not form in peanut butter once it is packed in containers, so if the production process is safe then the final product will be, when it reaches the consumer.