Poisonous Foods Flood the Market as Cancer Burden Stagnates

By Soko Directory Team / Published January 28, 2019 | 9:02 am



pesticides

Aflatoxin is back, in fact, the deadly poison never left our homes, shops whether big or small or our markets according to an Agro-research by the Nairobi University in collaboration with Texas.

Aflatoxin, which is known to be a lead cause for liver cancer, is found in animal food products and grains such as maize. Kenya has consecutively been marked as a zone for aflatoxin despite having in place bureaus and boards to ensure food safety in the country.

Study results released mid-2018 by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) showed a scarily large amount of milk and grains consumed by Kenyans have aflatoxin levels exceeding the accepted limit internationally.

Aflatoxin, a tasteless poison produced by Aspergillus flavus fungus, is caused by mold in soil and affects grains after which it is passed on to human beings through direct ingestion of the affected crops or animal food products.

The study by Nairobi University and Texas reveal massive aflatoxin levels in Kenya’s markets, major retail shops and sadly, homes.

The study results paint an image of a society that is slowly succumbing to the negligence of its leaders and citizens, absorbing every Kenyan in the blame as cancer patients continue to fill up hospitals.

Barely a year ago a report dubbed, “Measuring and mitigating the risk of mycotoxins in maize and dairy products for poor consumers in Kenya” done from samples of livestock feeds collected from farmers in five counties, the results were worrying.

Eliud Kireger, the Kenya Agricultural, and Livestock Research Organization Director-General dismissed the report terming it as alarmist while arguing that most Kenyans could have died if that was the case.

Eliud did acknowledge that, however, aflatoxin is a major threat to food security in Kenya and called upon the Government to subsidize bio-control products to tackle the poison.

The ILRI results inform that Kenya had aflatoxin levels of between 0.02 parts per billion (ppb) to 9661 ppb with positive samples ranging from 75-100 percent.

The results show 72 percent of the milk from dairy farmers, 84 percent from large and medium-scale farmers and a whopping 99 percent of the pasteurized marketed milk contained aflatoxins.

The dangerous aflatoxin levels uncovered by the study exceed the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) limit of 50 parts per trillion (ppt) and one would expect a responsible Government to have strategies in place to solve this crisis by a year later and the results are more dumbfounding.

Milk samples from the five counties, in the ILRI study, reveal that 55 percent of the samples exceeded the 50 ppt limit.

Consumers of grains are also not spared of the poison as the study has revealed that prolonged humidity and poor grain storage methods among small-scale farmers leave the cereals at high risk of exposure to aflatoxin.

Aflatoxin has been known to be a carcinogenic and though cereals are synonymous with vegetarians who are mostly considered to be healthy feeders, unprecedented levels of the poison are frustrating the efforts of many Kenyans to lead a healthy lifestyle while hindering the country’s efforts to fight cancer.

Aflatoxin is not only said to be a leading cause of liver cancer but also caused stunted growth in children, depression, anorexia, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver failure and pulmonary edema amongst other complications.

Aflatoxin claimed 125 lives in Makueni and Kitui, in Kenya, through jaundice marking one of the most terrible consequences of the poison according to tests by Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The tests indicated massive levels of 8,000 parts per billion of aflatoxin that were way past the limits allowed on foods in the Agricultural fertile area.

Liver cancer, which is associated with aflatoxin exposure, claims an estimated 26,000 people every year in the sub-Saharan African according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Aflatoxin is most prevalent in areas where maize amongst other cereals is harvested prematurely and is known to contaminate an estimated 25 percent of agricultural products in the world with Kenya experiencing multiple aflatoxicosis outbreaks in the recent years.

ALSO READ:  10 Poisonous Foods That Kenyans Are Eating and Why We Are To Blame




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

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