The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) says there is no cause for alarm regarding the instant noodles under the label Indomie, that have so far been banned in Rwanda and Egypt among other countries.
KEBS insists that there is no connection between the products recalled in Egypt and the ones in Kenya.
The bio chemical testing laboratory at KEBS in Nairobi will be busy for the next four days as it tries to rush against time to deliver results on the safety of a common quick fix staple in many households in the country; Indomie instant noodles.
Tom Oduor, Ag. Head of testing at KEBS says: “We have received 94 instant noodles samples from our market surveillance teams, and at the moment the tests requests are on two, that is the pesticide residues and aflatoxins.”
The safety tests on the instant noodles were brought about after the Food and Safety Authority in Egypt recalled the chicken, chilli and vegetable flavors 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 also raised alarm that similar products are being imported and marketed in the other member States which include Kenya.
Lt. Col. (Rtd) Bernard Njiraini, KEBS Managing Director, said: “We did not import any products from Egypt, however we have a local manufacturer of Indomie instant noodles called Salim Wazaran. Of course the brand or trademark could be a franchise, but the company manufacturing this product is sourcing their raw materials locally and importing some ingredients.”
It is from COMESA’s Competition Commission that Rwanda also banned the products over safety concerns; Rwanda imports the instant noodles from Kenya.
On May 10, the Food and Drugs Authority Ghana also stated that, in light of the recent recalls in other countries, they have picked samples from the manufacturing facility for testing.
They also warned the country against consuming the said noodles that bear the logo “ladha ya kuku” saying they are not a registered product in Ghana.
According to KEBS however, the preliminary results are promising.
“Preliminary investigations show there are no excess aflatoxins beyond the 10 ppb that is required of the standard,” said. Lt. Col. Njiraini.
Mr. Oduor added: “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.”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), when people come into contact with large quantities of pesticide, acute poisoning or long-term health effects, including cancer and adverse effects on reproduction can occur.
KEBS states that if the worst case scenario comes into play, then they will be forced to withdraw the products from the shelves.