NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The East African Community member (EAC) states
plans to develop a policy framework to address the human and
animal health threat of aflatoxin contamination and boost food
security, the economic bloc said on Wednesday.
Deputy Secretary General of the EAC, told a regional forum in
Nairobi that aflatoxins from fungi are widespread in the region
and cause contamination of staple foods such as maize milk and
groundnuts in the field and during storage.
“The EAC partner
states will therefore develop policies to aid in the formulation
and implementation of intervention programs to curb the spread
of aflatoxins,” Bazivamo said.
The overall goal of
the framework is to said to contribute to food and nutrition
security as well as to protect human, animal and plant health.
Bazivamo said to
eliminate the threat of aflatoxin, the region needs to create
awareness and sensitize high level policy makers and other key
stakeholders on the necessary policy action and interventions to
mitigate impacts of aflatoxin.
Bazivamo, the control of aflatoxin will enable the EAC to expand
intra-regional trade in the agricultural products.
He said a
comparative analysis of trade-related impacts of aflatoxin
indicate that export destinations such as the EU have rejected
agricultural commodities from the region leading to huge losses.
He urged the member
states to focus on preventive measures given that disposal of
aflatoxin-contaminated food can be a costly and time consuming
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, said
aflatoxins contaminate about 25 percent of agricultural products
Kiunjuri said the
country has experienced multiple aflatoxicosis outbreaks in
recent years, often resulting in fatalities.
He said aflatoxins
can cause fatal liver toxicity at high dosage levels while
chronic exposure is associated with a range of health problems
including liver cancer, child stunting, low birth weight and
secretary said mitigating the impacts of aflatoxin demands good
management practices in crop and animal production, drying,
handling and storage.