Hours after the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) announced a ban on five maize flour brands in the country over high level of aflatoxin, hawk-eyed citizens were quick to note that a local hypermarket was recently selling one of the banned product, Dola, at half its price.
The hypermarket was later found to be Carrefour, a local French retailer.
In the photos that have gone viral on the interweb, the popular chain was selling a 2-Kg packet of the Dola flour at Ksh70 half its price in the market.
Netizens wondered if Carrefour had prior knowledge of the ban and was thus disposing the product at a through away price while endangering lives of people. Aflatoxin is one of the substances that cause cancer.
Indeed, Carrefour Supermarket MUST explain to the republic how they were selling Dola Unga Ugali at half the price just days before DOLA was banned for having poison that causes cancer to humans. Were you @CarrefourKe disposing off the stock? Answers please! Tuache mchezo! pic.twitter.com/iSUzZTkD63
— Lord Abraham Mutai (@ItsMutai) November 10, 2019
Following the increasing concerns, Carrefour was forced to respond.
In a series of tweets seen by this writer, the hypermarket claims that they had a promotion of the Unga product which ran only for three days, from November 1 to November 3.
It added that the promotion was negotiated with the supplier several weeks ago without knowledge of the probe by KEBS.
“Carrefour Kenya would like to inform its customers that the special promotion on DOLA flour which was valid from 1st November until 3rd November 2019 was negotiated with the supplier weeks ago without knowing the ongoing investigations from KEBS, ” said Carrefour.
The management further stated that the Dola flour was withdrawn from the Shelves on Thursday, November 7, two days before the KEBS ban was announced.
This, according to the admin, followed an alert by Retail Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK).
“All the maize flour concerned on KEBS today’s press release have been withdrawn from the shelves preventively, as soon as Carrefour was made aware through RETRAK on Thursday the 7th, ” it added.
Carrefour announced that following the concerns the management has decided to refund all customers who bought the Dolla flour and any other banned brand from all its outlets.
“Any maize flour concerned which has been purchased at Carrefour can be returned and refunded in any of our branches.”
We also would like to emphasize to our valuable customers that any maize flour concerned which has been purchased at Carrefour can be returned and refunded in any of our branches.
— Carrefour Kenya (@CarrefourKe) November 9, 2019
Other brands that were banned on Saturday by KEBS include 210, Jembe, Starehe and Kifaru maize flour. Their manufacturers were directed to discontinue the production and sale of the products.
“Additionally, the manufacturers are required to recall all the substandard maize meal products from the market and institute corrective actions,” the statement by KEBS read in part.