FOREWORD ISSUE 75: SPECIAL ILRI ISSUE on "Aflatoxins in Eastern Africa" [Volume 16 No. 3 (2016)]

We are happy to share this issue which is sponsored by the International Livestock Research Institute. We wish to express our appreciation to the team at ILRI for affording us at AJFAND to produce and carry this issue on such an important topic.

"Bad food is no food": I just attended the IAFP (International Association for Food Protection) 2016 Annual Meeting in St. Louis Missouri and participated in a Panel that focused on linking food safety to food security. The phrase in bold kept coming up during our panel discussion. Apart from myself on the panel were: Mary Kenny representing FAO Rome, and David Crean in charge of MARS Global Affairs. The coordinator of the panel, Ewin Todd informed us that this was the first time such a topic was being presented at the IAFP Annual Conference and that he truly could not gauge the interest and had no idea how many of the 3000+ participants would show up.

The session ended up being very well attended. Most participants stayed right through the 90 minute session and were able to stay through the question time as well. Clearly the interest was there. The session started with a 6 minute documentary shown by FAO about global food safety issues and which helped to set the scene for our eventual discussion. Mary Kenny's talk complemented what was in the documentary. What came through is that various United Nations agencies including FAO and WHO can be relied on to assist especially developing countries on food safety issues with regard to trade and human health, and this can be fairly critical in setting standards, guidelines and enhancing collaborative efforts. Examples given by the private sector representative pointed to a need to have everyone around the table to discuss food safety concerns and that ultimately, this is not just a developing country issue.

I was able to share experiences from Kenya in particular and Africa at large. As we concluded our presentations, it turned out that we each had made reference to the ongoing efforts to control mycotoxin contamination. Aflatoxins have become vicious contaminants in cereals and particularly maize which is a major staple for millions of consumers around the world. The Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) is one program that illustrates how best a public/private partnership can be forged to address a global challenge that affects human health. PACA has been adopted by the Africa Union, and is supported by governments and donors alike, and embraced by different partners including private sector and NGO's. Simple methods are being sought to address the problem which now is linked to stunting, disease, cancer and death. Aflatoxins impede trade and thus the economic wellbeing of families, communities and countries. Aflatoxin is found in milk and meats as well. It is, therefore, important to understand that passing on bad food to our livestock is not the answer as it only gets back to us.

There are 12 peer reviewed scientific articles in this Special Issue. The main corresponding author for the issue is Dr. Johanna Lindahl ( We hope the information herein can be shared as widely as possible amongst researchers, policy makers, practitioners and consumers.

Announcement: "The First All Africa Postharvest Congress & Exhibition"to be held at the Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya March 28 to 31, 2017.

Ruth Oniang’o
Editor-in-Chief, AJFAND