The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has revealed that there is no reason for Kenyans to worry regarding the instant Indomie noodles that are sold in Kenya.
The noodles were banned in Rwanda and Egypt among other countries following signs of excessive aflatoxins.
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However, the regulator said that there is no connection between the products recalled in those countries to the ones in Kenya, noting that the product in the latter’s market was safe for humans to eat.
KEBS Managing Director, Lt Col (Rtd) Benard Njiraini indicated that initial tests carried out on the samples showed that they had no indication of any poisonous substances that would pose a risk to the health of Kenyans.
He added that the aflatoxins were not above the limit that was recommended by the regulator, meaning that it was safe for human consumption.
Njiraini added that no Indomie product was imported into Kenya from Egypt which became the first nation to raise the alarm. The products are manufactured locally, and the trademark is only in place by the manufacturer after purchasing the rights to use it.
“There are no aflatoxins beyond the 10 parts-per-billion (ppb) that is required of the standard.
“We did not import any product from Egypt. However, we have a local manufacturer of Indomie instant noodles. The trademark could be a franchise but the company producing this material is sourcing the material from locals while importing some of the ingredients,” Njiraini told Citizen TV.
KEBS Head of Testing Division, Tom Oduor noted that the regulator obtained 94 instant noodles samples from its market surveillance teams, and at the moment the test requests were on two, that is the pesticide residues and aflatoxins.
“However, for pesticides, the tests will take slightly longer…because we’re taking about 4 hours to get one sample ready. And when we talk of pesticide residues, we’re not talking of one, it is a very big population of around 80 pesticides being done in one sample,” he clarified.
The safety tests on the instant noodles were prompted after the Food and Safety Authority (FSA) in Egypt recalled the chicken, chilli and vegetable flavours of the product from their market, citing excess quantities of aflatoxins and pesticide residues.
The Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) Competition Commission further weighed in by warning of similar products being imported into other member states for sale, including Kenya. This warranted the Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) on May 5 to advise Kenyans against consuming the Indomie instant noodles after purchase.
Rwanda acted on COMESA’s Competition Commission warning and instantly banned the products over safety concerns, despite importing them from Kenya.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), when people come into contact with large quantities of pesticides, acute poisoning or long-term health effects, including cancer and adverse effects on reproduction can occur.
KEBS however added that they would be forced to withdraw the product from the market if the worst-case scenario arises.