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Govt drafts rules for blending maize flour

Friday September 7 2018

blend maize

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri speaks during the Mombasa International show at Mkomani grounds in Nyali, Mombasa, on August 30, 2018. Standards for use by millers to blend maize and wheat flour have been developed. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

BONIFACE MWANGI
By BONIFACE MWANGI
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The government has come up with standards for use by millers to blend maize and wheat flour.

A Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) technical team on Thursday completed drafting the guidelines.

The Ministry of Agriculture wants all flour blended by crops like sorghum, millet, and sweet potato to make it more nutritious. The blended flour may hit the shelves in November.

BIG FOUR AGENDA

Flour Blending Initiative is part of Kenya’s “Big 4” Plan aimed at contributing towards food security, improve nutrition and increase employment opportunities in Kenya through flour blending based on under-utilised high value foods by 2022.

“This multi-sectoral approach has been designed through a consultative process that targets a high-impact approach aimed at integrating and securing arid and semi-arid lands (Asals) in contributing towards national food basket,” Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said.

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Each flour sold will have 10 percent minimum content of the underutilised but high nutrient crops like sorghum, cassava and sweet potatoes.

The rules were finalised at a retreat that ended Thursday in Machakos County, also attended by experts and shareholders from both Processed Cereals and Legume Technical Committee and Roots and Tubers Technical Committee.

“Three of the six standards are for wheat and the remainder for maize flour,” Ms Jane Wambugu, who is in charge of the initiative, said.

After they are gazetted, millers will be compelled to blend their wheat flour with sorghum, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Maize flour will be blended with cassava, millet and sorghum.

GUIDELINES

The blended flours will be prepared through a mixture of two different milled food crops or their flours.

It may also be obtained by blending grains before milling, according to the guidelines.

No food colour will be allowed and millers will have to retain the colour of the grains blended in each floor.

The food should also be free from insects’ parts, fungi or dirt and free from musty or other objectionable odour that may render it unfit for human consumption.

In addition, labelling for each package should be legibly and indelibly marked with name of product such as "Blended wheat and sorghum flour or Blended sorghum and wheat flour’.

LABELLING

Other labelling requirements are the statement "for human consumption", country of origin and declaration of the percentage composition of the blend.

The date of manufacture and expiry date with instructions for disposal of used package should also be printed on the packing material.

The standards also require millers to pack their blended flour in food grade packaging materials.

And where sacks are used, they should be clean, sturdy and strongly sewn or sealed.

The first name shall be that of the dominant flour in the blend and name and address of the manufacturer/packer/importer.