Maize flour dealers are urged to get certification
The Uganda National Bureau of Standard (UNBS) has called upon all maize flour dealers to adhere to the maize flour quality standards as well as seek UNBS certification before placing their products on the market.
During the ongoing sensitization stakeholder engagements held with maize millers under Operation Wealth Creation, Rubaga Grain Millers Association , Masanafu maize millers, and on site capacity building visits to all millers across the country, UNBS issued an ultimatum of six months (January – June 2021) to have all maize flour milling facilities certified by UNBS.
The UNBS use of the Distinctive Mark regulation 2018 requires all products under mandatory standards, of which maize flour is among, to be certified by UNBS before being placed on the market. Violation of this regulation attracts a fine not exceeding five hundred currency points (500) or imprisonment not exceeding five years or both.
Maize flour millers are advised to adhere to the following standards requirements to minimise contamination and ensure safe maize flour on the market;
- Ensure that the business premises, the maize milling equipment and stores are regularly cleaned and the cleaning records are well kept, as required by the Uganda standards.
- Ensure that there is no foreign matter like stones, wooden particles, hair or nails in the flour and avail magnets to get rid of metal that could have contaminated the maize flour during the milling process.
- Avoid storing maize or maize flour directly on the floor. Store it on pallets to avoid contact with damp floors that could lead to Moulds and Aflatoxin contamination of maize and maize flour;
- Avoid using unacceptable pest control methods like spraying with pesticides and insecticides which contaminates the maize flour. Cats too leave fur behind, which contaminates the flour so they should be avoided. Make use of traditional rat traps and acceptable pest control methods that do not contaminate the flour in the stores.
- Have evidence of internal and external product testing, record keeping and maintenance.
- Ensure workers are fully dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) during the production process. The workers should be availed with changing rooms, good quality restrooms that are cleaned regularly and cleaning records well-kept as well as necessary training required for quality work, as required by the standards.
- Regular medical check-ups of the workers MUST be done and health records kept as required by the standards. Ensure proper packaging and labelling of finished products. Product Labels should have the brand name, date of manufacture, Expiry date/ sell by date, Name of manufacturer, Address of manufacturer, storage instructions, Instructions for use, size and net weight of the products.
- Avoid packing maize and maize flour in packaging that is not yours. Deceptive labelling is an offence, punishable by law.
- Ensure that the facility has a valid UNBS certification status. The certification permit expires every after 12 month and the permit holder is required to renew it accordingly.