The University of Nairobi’s Mycotoxin Laboratory accredited by Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS) - ISO/IEC 17025:2005

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Location / Venue: 

Council Chamber, 19th Floor, UoN Towers

On Tuesday, May 21, 2019, the University of Nairobi’s management representatives lead by the acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Affairs, Prof. Julius Ogeng’o, received the accreditation certificate from the Kenya Accreditation Services’ Chief Executive Officer Mr. Martin Chesire at the Council Chamber, 19th Floor, UoN Towers. This is a culmination of audit on aflatoxin testing laboratories based at the Centre for Biotechnology and Bioinformatics (CEBIB) which was conducted by KENAS on 13th - 14th December 2018. The certificate recognizes the Mycotoxin Laboratory as an accredited testing laboratory having satisfied the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2005.

The University of Nairobi’s Mycotoxin Laboratory becomes the university’s second laboratory accredited as a testing laboratory (the first being the Lighting Laboratory based at Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology) having satisfied the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2005 and the first of its kind in a University in Kenya and East Africa.

Prof. Sheila Okoth, the Head of Mycotoxin Laboratory, noted that aflatoxin is a global challenge to food safety and food security. She pointed out that exposure to aflatoxins has been linked to chronic illness especially in arid parts of Kenya. Setting-up of the Mycotoxin lab was anchored in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the University of Nairobi and Texas A&M (USA). The collaboration has enabled the laboratory to provide aflatoxin testing services to the World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) among other organizations to ensure that imports (food aid) and locally produced food meet the required standards. Personnel from stakeholders in the food industry such as the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), millers and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) have also benefited from a series of aflatoxin testing training facilitated through the partnership. In order to enhance management of aflatoxin, the Mycotoxin Lab team is working with Meru County government in drafting a model bill for aflatoxin risk management in Meru County.

Prof Tim Herrman, State Chemist and Director of the Office of the Texas State Chemist (USA), expressed his team’s gratitude for collaborating with the University of Nairobi - a University he described as a premier institution in East Africa and Africa. He affirmed that Texas A&M is pleased to associate with the world-class University and faculty. He emphasised that aflatoxin remains a global challenge and that working together in the partnership provides an ideal platform for the exchange of ideas towards the provision of long term solutions for the wellbeing of humans, animals, and the market.

Prof. Paul Ndegwa, the Director – School of Biological Science, lauded the establishment and operationalization of the Mycotoxin Laboratory. He termed it a great honour for the opportunity the University has received to offer world-class service to Counties and Kenya and a milestone in research collaborations with Texas A&M. The accreditation provides an opportunity to explore the provision of extension services directly to farmers in the grassroots.

Prof. Bernard Aduda, the Principal – College of Biological and Physical Sciences, congratulated the whole team that worked hard to bring the accreditation of the lab to fruition. He emphasised the importance of testing services to ensure food and feed safety. He thanked KENAS and urged for continued collaborative engagements with the accredited lab.

Prof. Julius Ogeng’o, the Ag. DVC (AA) – University of Nairobi, pointed out that accreditation is key in keeping with world-class status. He also expressed the importance of accreditation in academia – Industry linkage; and termed it an indicator for a world-class University. He underscored the fact that aflatoxin is a major problem globally and highlighted the link to the government’s Big 4 agenda especially on food security. He reaffirmed the University’s commitment to providing solutions to problems in society.

Mr Martin Chesire, the CEO – KENAS, commended the University for taking accreditation towards excellence. He explained that accreditation is dependent on a peer-process and that the highest level achievable is accreditation. He reiterated that aflatoxin is a worldwide challenge and that food security cannot be achieved without food safety; which is needed even during post-harvest, food handling and storage. He pointed out that KENAS is in the process of accrediting Agricultural Food Authority which will be mandated to provide inspection services. He affirmed KENAS’ commitment to raising awareness on the use of accreditation, and that KENAS is exploring to pilot education on accreditation and standards with the objective of creating a much-needed workforce for the industry. He expressed the need to collaborate with the University on the contents that will constitute the curriculum. Furthermore, Mr Chesire explained that KENAS wishes to establish strategic linkages with the university to conduct a study on the uptake of standards – specifically on the sectors that require the facilities. There is a need for the use of standards and accreditation as tools for sustainable development. Finally, KENAS intends to leverage on the University faculty expertise as part of the assessment team. He concluded by congratulating the University for meeting the mark!

Expiry Date: 
Mon, 05/30/2022 - 21:00
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