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Call for scientific justification for lower moisture content in FDEAS 2:2011


Introduction
Maize is by far the most important food crop in Kenya and a major cross-section of eastern, southern and central African countries. In some countries like Kenya, any reference to shortage of food is a direct reference to the shortage of maize. At the peak of food shortage in Kenya, there emerged among the population a clarion call for an Unga Revolution. The Unga in this case is a reference to maize meal. In a number of some countries, there have been maize meal riots either due to lack of it or increases in prices which made it impossible for the larger cross-section of citizens access the maize meal.
  Realizing the crucial role of maize in food trade and food security in East Africa, the first harmonized standard was issues as EAS 2:1999 with four grades and a moisture content of 13.5 % m/m. This standard was closely related to standards in India, Philippines and the USA.  

First Revision of EAS 2, 2005

In 2005, EAS 2:1999 was revised. The major changes were in the reduction of grades from four to two on the basis of reducing varieties, confusion and greater consumer protection. It was argued at that time that Grades 3 and 4 had parameters which were more fit for animal feed than human food. The standard also expanded the varieties of maize from the previous two (white and yellow) by adding the red variety and clearly defined the limits for admixtures. It expanded the clause on undergrade maize for more clarity.  
The parameter for moisture content was retained at 13.5 % m/m for both grades.
 

Second revision of EAS 2, 2011

In 2005, EAS 2:2005 was revised. The major changes were in the expansion of the grades from two to three. The rationale for this change was based on the experience in the region where the majority of farmers are small scale and do not have facilities to achieve higher purities which in any case had not been demonstrated as having food safety risk. The standard contains an expanded clause on general requirements to clarify on the minimum requirements for maize grains.
 

The parameter for moisture content was changed from 13.5 % m/m to 13.0 m/m for all grades.
 

Loss of grain in storage

More grain is lost because of improper storage than for any other reason. Most common problems are as follows:

1. Inadequate observation of grain during storage: not checking grain frequently.

2. Improper grain management, not using aeration to control grain temperature.

3. Pockets of fines (broken kernels, weed seeds and trash) restrict airflow and provide food for insects and mold.
4. Grain began to deteriorate because it was held too long without adequate aeration prior to drying.

5. Improper cooling of grain after drying. Grain must be dry and cool before storing.

6. Poor initial grain quality or not dried to a safe moisture content.

7. Improper or lack of insect control.
 

The moisture content issue

It is scientifically acknowledged that maize is a perishable commodity with a limited shelf life that depends on the moisture content and temperature of the corn. “Shelf Life” is the length of time good quality, aerated shelled maize can be stored before losing 0.5 % of dry matter. With this amount of dry matter decomposition, it is assumed that the corn loses some quality, but maintains its market grade.   The CODEX Alimentarius Standard, CODEX STAN 153:1995 sets the moisture content for dry maize grains at 15.5 % m/m maximum. The Codex standard recognizes that lower moisture limits should be required for certain destinations in relation to the climate, duration of transport and storage. Governments accepting the Codex Standard are requested to indicate and justify the requirements in force in their country.  

The moisture content problem

Most damage that occurs in maize grains during storage is caused by moulds and insects. Grain spoilage occurs as microorganisms feed on the nutrients in the grain. As they grow and develop, these microorganisms produce head, which increases the temperature of the surrounding grain. This heating may result in hot spots.
  If the temperature and moisture are just right, the major mould species Aspergillus, Fusarium and Pencillum may produce mycotoxins such as aflatoxin, fumonisin, DON (De-Oxy-Nivalenol = Vomitoxin) and zearalenone. These mycotoxins can cause serious illness and even death when consumed by humans or animals. The presence of mould does not mean that the mycotoxins will be present, but rather the potential exists for their development with the right combination of temperature, grain moisture content and storage time. Even more frustrating is the fact that the absence of mould does not guarantee that mycotoxins are not present. This is because the growth of the mould may not be extensive enough to cause visible damage, but nevertheless, it can still produce toxins.   In setting the parameter for moisture content, it prudent to determine the storage time, period of transportation and existing humidies. In some jurisdiction, scientific studies have shown that moisture content can be set as follows:
  
Shelled maize & sorghum Max. safe moisture
To be sold within 6 months 15 %
To be stored up to 1 year 14 %
To be stored more than 1 year 13 %

Scientifically justified moisture content for maize in East Africa
While the moisture content of 13 % was set with good intentions, Kenya has faced problems while importing maize from neighbouring countries and other countries in the continent and beyond. Furthermore, it is not practical to expect small scale farmers who only use the sun to dry the maize to achieve the 13 % moisture content level. Maize from South Africa, the USA, Malawi, Zambia and a host of other countries has been rejected in the past on the basis of high moisture content than any other parameter.
  What has always been outstanding is the lack of scientific justification for the 13.5 % parameter. With 13.0 %, we risk aggravating the problem further since our farmers will now be required to use artificial drying facilities which they do not have. It should also be remembered that most of the maize is actually consumed within 6 months of harvest.  

Purpose of this communication

This is an appeal to all stakeholders within the East African Community and trading partners to provide scientific justification for the setting of moisture content different from that set in
CODEX STAN 153:1995.

Kindly submit such information through the Contact Persons indicated in this web-portal.


Call for scientific justification for lower moisture content in FDEAS 2-2011, 76 KB pdf



TBS MARK AND TESTED PRODUCTS CERTIFIED COMPANIES
 
Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has been granting certificates of the quality mark to its customers
who complied to standards' requirements.

Kindly download the attached updated list (Feb.2013) of the TBS Mark and Tested Products certified companies:

1. TBS Mark Certified Companies - ACTIVE.

2. Tested Products Certified Companies - ACTIVE. 







News & Events

3rd Meeting of EACQIS held in Nairobi Kenya, February 2012


The third meeting of East African Community - Quality Information System (EACQIS) Team comprising WG2 members and ICT officers from each NSB was held at Red Court Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya
 from 2012-02-06 to 2012-02-10. The meeting came up with the final proposal for EACQIS which includes cost estimates, technical specifications
 basing on user and system requirements, and implementation schedule. 

During that third meeting under the presence of PTB project manager Mr. Tobias Diergardt and the expertise/stewardship of Manfred Kindler and
Thomas Schrein from Germany, the team proposed to start with market surveillance module from the European Union (EU) System, ICSMS so as
 to gain technical and user experience while proceeding with the process of developing the EACQIS.  
Contact Persons
MANAGING DIRECTOR
Kenya Bureau of Standards

P.O. Box 54974 00200 Nairobi, Kenya

Tel: +254 20 6005490, 6948000

Fax:+254 20 6009660, 6004031

E-Mail: info@kebs.org; md@kebs.org

Website: www.kebs.org
 
Attn: reubengo@kebs.org; oduore@kebs.org;
ololot@kebs.org

Directeur
Bureau Burundais de Normalisation et Contrôle de la Qualité (BBN)

Boulevard de la Tanzanie 500

B.P 3535, Bujumbura, Burundi

Tel:  +257 22 221815/221577/77730585,

Fax: +257 22 225595

Attn:
NAKOBEDETSE DAMIEN bbnorme@yahoo.fr damienakobedeste@yahoo.fr nzigervais2002@yahoo.fr

East African Community Secretariat
PO Box 1096, Arusha, TANZANIA

Tel: +255782531697

E-mail : wmusinguzi@eachq.org


DIRECTOR GENERAL
Tanzania Bureau of Standards

P.O. Box 9524
DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA
Tel: +255 22 450206

Fax: +255 22 450959

E-mail: info@tbs.go.tz

Website: www.tbs.go.tz
 
Attn:
info@tbs.go.tz; thomas.mnunguli@tbs.go.tz; mnunguli@yahoo.com; kinabols@yahoo.com

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Uganda National Bureau of Standards
P.O. Box 6329
KAMPALA, UGANDA
Tel: +256 414 505995

Fax: +256 414 286123
E-mail:  info@unbs.go.ug
 
Attn: david.eboku@unbs.go.ug
; apostella2000@yahoo.co.uk;  martin.imalingat@unbs.go.ug; stella.apolot@gmail.com

DIRECTOR GENERAL,
Rwanda Bureau of Standards,

PO Box: 7099
Kigali-KicuKiro, Rwanda
Tel: +250-58 61 03,

Fax +250 58 33 05,

RBS Hotline: +250-32 50

Web: www.rwanda-standards.org
 
Attn: Athanasie Mukeshiyaremye; mukesha@yahoo.fr
mwajie@gmail.com, kamikazimwajabu@yahoo.com, ernestu2002@yahoo.co.uk, ernest@rbs.org.rw  
Mark Cyubahiro Bagabe, PhD
Director General
Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS)
P.O.BOX 7099, Kigali, Rwanda

Tel: +250 252 58 61 03/29 49
Fax: +250 252 58 33 05
email: mark.bagabe@rbs.org.rw; markbagabe@yahoo.co.uk
http//www.rwanda-standards.org