KENYA – Nakuru County has acquired a state-of-the-art aflatoxin testing machine, the Elisa Plate Reader in a stride towards ensuring the safety and quality of local food products.

This equipment, facilitated through the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology’s European Union Funded Food Fortification Project, aims to enhance quality control and standardized packaging of staple foods within the county.

Governor Susan Kihika announced the arrival of the Elisa Plate Reader, highlighting its transformative impact on the testing and certification of food samples.

Previously, the testing process was conducted in Nairobi, but with the new machine, Nakuru County can generate quicker results locally, reducing logistics and ensuring fresh, high-quality products for residents.

Governor Kihika emphasized the importance of food safety, assuring the public of the county’s commitment to delivering fresh and quality products in the food sector.

“We have now bid farewell to transporting food samples to Nairobi for testing. We will now generate quicker results, with reduced logistics, and a guarantee of fresh, quality products for our people,” She stated.

The newly acquired machine is expected to boost the county’s capacity for aflatoxin surveillance, particularly for staple foods such as maize, wheat flour, sorghum, and groundnuts that are susceptible to contamination.

Public Health Chief Officer, Alice Abuki, highlighted the positive impact of the Elisa Plate Reader on expediting results, streamlining logistics, and ensuring high-quality products in the market.

The move is part of the county’s broader efforts to enhance food safety and protect residents from potential health risks associated with aflatoxin contamination, reports Kenya News Agency.

JKUAT’s Principal of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Professor Daniel Sila, underscored the importance of safe foods for a healthier nation. He emphasized the university’s commitment to supporting food fortification and safety programs, contributing to research-based decision-making.

In November last year, JKUAT launched a Food Fortification Reference Laboratory, aligning with the government’s efforts to combat malnutrition. The laboratory focuses on adding essential micronutrients to widely consumed foods like maize flour, edible oils, salt, and wheat flour.

Nakuru County residents expressed their support for the initiative, recognizing the critical role of food safety in development.

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