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by IFPRI | June 14, 2019

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Bioaccessibility and bioavailability of biofortified food and food products: Current evidence
Huey, Samantha L.; Mehta, Neel H.; Konieczynski, Elsa M.; Bhargava, Arini; Friesen, Valerie M.; Boy, Erick. Article in press

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Biofortification increases micronutrient content in staple crops through conventional breeding, agronomic methods, or genetic engineering. Bioaccessibility is a prerequisite for a nutrient to fulfill a biological function, e.g., to be bioavailable. The objective of this systematic review is to examine the bioavailability (and bioaccessibility as a proxy via in vitro and animal models) of the target micronutrients enriched in conventionally biofortified crops that have undergone post-harvest storage and/or processing, which has not been systematically reviewed previously, to our knowledge. We searched for articles indexed in MEDLINE, Agricola, AgEcon, and Center for Agriculture and Biosciences International databases, organizational websites, and hand-searched studies’ reference lists to identify 18 studies reporting on bioaccessibility and 58 studies on bioavailability. Conventionally bred biofortified crops overall had higher bioaccessibility and bioavailability than their conventional counterparts, which generally provide more absorbed micronutrient on a fixed ration basis. However, these estimates depended on exact cultivar, processing method, context (crop measured alone or as part of a composite meal), and experimental method used. Measuring bioaccessibility and bioavailability of target micronutrients in biofortified and conventional foods is critical to optimize nutrient availability and absorption, ultimately to improve programs targeting micronutrient deficiency.
Fate and transport modelling for evaluating antibiotic resistance in aquatic environments: Current knowledge and research priorities
Jampani, Mahesh; Mateo-Sagasta, Javier; Chandrasekar, Aparna; Fatta-Kassinos, Despo; Graham, David W.; Gothwal, Ritu; Moodley, Arshnee; Chadag, Vishnumurthy Mohan; Wiberg, David; Langan, Simon . Article in press

Increasing production diversity and diet quality: Evidence from Bangladesh
Ahmed, Akhter; Coleman, Fiona; Ghostlaw, Julie; Hoddinott, John F.; Menon, Purnima; Parvin, Aklima; Pereira, Audrey; Quisumbing, Agnes R.; Roy, Shalini; Younus, Masuma. Article in Press

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In the context of rural Bangladesh, we assess whether agriculture training alone, nutrition behavior communication change (BCC) alone, combined agriculture training and nutrition BCC, or agriculture training and nutrition BCC combined with gender sensitization improve: (a) production diversity, either on household fields or through crop, livestock, or aquaculture activities carried out near the family homestead; and (b) diet diversity and the quality of household diets. All treatment arms were implemented by government employees. Implementation quality was high. No treatment increased production diversification of crops grown on fields. Treatment arms with agricultural training did increase the number of different crops grown in homestead gardens and the likelihood of any egg, dairy, or fish production but the magnitudes of these effect sizes were small. All agricultural treatment arms had, in percentage terms, large effects on measures of levels of homestead production. However, because baseline levels of production were low, the magnitude of these changes in absolute terms was modest. Nearly all treatment arms improved measures of food consumption and diet with the largest effects found when nutrition and agriculture training were combined. Relative to treatments combining agriculture and nutrition training, we find no significant impact of adding the gender sensitization on our measures of production diversity or diet quality. Interventions that combine agricultural training and nutrition BCC can improve both production diversity and diet quality, but they are not a panacea. They can, however, contribute toward better diets of rural households.
Needs and opportunities for measuring rural women’s empowerment in Guatemala: Possible applications of a Women’s Empowerment Metric for National Statistical Systems (WEMNS)
Valiente, Regina; Heckert, Jessica; Paz, Flor; Cabnal, Edwin. Washington, DC 2024

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Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is reflected across policy priorities at global and national levels. Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5) seeks to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Moreover, the Government of Guatemala, through the Presi dential Secretariat for Women (SEPREM), has supported these priorities through the National Policy for the Promotion and Comprehensive Development of Women and the Equality of Opportunities Plan 2008-2023, particularly under its Equitable Economic and Productive Development policy line, which gives the agenda a thematic focus on women’s economic empowerment. Both policy instruments are designed to guide public institutions in achieving the goals that have been set by the Council of Minis ters of Women of Central America and the Dominican Republic (COMMCA). Economic empowerment is one of the main lines of policy action under the Regional Policy on Gender Equality and Equity of SICA (PRIEG/SICA). As such, women’s economic empowerment is being prioritized at the national level in Guatemala, and also at the regional level across Central America and the Dominican Republic.
Trends and patterns in consumption of foods among Indian adults: Insights from National Family Health Surveys, 2005-06 to 2019- 21
Patwardhan, Sharvari; Kapoor, Rati; Scott, Samuel; Nguyen, Phuong Hong; Chamois, Sylvie; Singh, S.K.; Dwivedi, L.K.; Pedgaonkar, Sarang; Puri, Parul; Chauhan, Alka; Laxmaiah, Avula; Menon, Purnima . New Delhi, India 2023

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BACKGROUND| Healthy diets are necessary for optimal growth and to carry out daily mental and physical tasks. Unhealthy diets drive all forms of malnutritionand dietary risks are the number one risk factor globally for deaths and disability (Global Burden of Disease collaborators, 2019). Given the importance of diet as a key driver of health and wellbeing, this Data Note examines available data from three rounds of India’s National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) on food consumption patterns of adult men and women.
MEASUREMENT| NFHS asks women (15-49 years) and men (15-54 years) how frequently (daily, weekly, occasionally or never) they consume nine food groups including two unhealthy food groups (Figure 1). The 2020 Nutrient Requirements for Indiansoutlines the quantity per day of vegetarian foods to be consumed as part of a balanced diet (ICMR-NIN, 2020). The guidelines indicate that pulses can be replaced with animal-source foods for non-vegetarians. Thus, for this Data Note we constructed an additional indicator –daily consumption of pulses or egg or fish or chicken or meat –to estimate any protein consumption (Figure 1). Estimates are first presented at the national levelto provide an overall view of how diets have changed from 2005-06 to 2019-21. On subsequent pages, we show trends between 2015-16 and 2019-21 by stateand district.
USE| This data note provides a broad view of diet patterns among adults and should be used for further inquiry by stakeholders including researchers, policymakers, and program staff at multiple levels. We recognize that NFHS is not a detailed dietary survey and does not ask about individual food items or the quantity of food consumed. Thus, this data note should be used as a starting point for discussion and to identify major areas of improvement in consumption and measurement.
Tracking anemia and its determinants from 2015-16 to 2019-21 in India
Gune, Soyra; Christopher, Anita; Scott, Samuel; Nguyen, Phuong Hong; Joe, William; Singh, S. K.; Dwivedi, L. K.; Pedgaonkar, Sarang; Puri, Parul; Chauhan, Alka; Yadav, Kapil; Chamois, Sylvie . New Delhi, India 2023

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This Data Note provides an update on the prevalence of anemia and its determinants in India at state and districts levels, as well as coverage of a nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive interventions. Data were from the National Family Health Surveys in 2005 06, 2015 2016 and 2019 21. We first report national trends for 8 population groups (Figure 1 below). For each population group, we show anemia prevalence by severity category and at state and district levels using the two latest rounds of data. Lastly, we show recent trends in determinants of anemia and, nutrition and health interventions.
Coverage of nutrition and health interventions in India: Insights from the National Family Health Surveys
Christopher, Anita; Gune, Soyra; Avula, Rasmi; Nguyen, Phuong Hong; Menon, Purnima; Singh, S. K.; Dwivedi, L. K.; Pedgaonkar, Sarang; Puri, Parul; Chauhan, Alka; . New Delhi, India 2023

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Nutrition-specific interventions are aimed at improving the food, health, and care environment for women and children during the first 1000 days. These interventions span pregnancy, postnatal, and early childhood periods and include food and micronutrient supplementation, nutrition education and/or counselling, growth monitoring and promotion, as well as routine immunization, deworming, and care during illness. At 90% coverage, these interventions can contribute to 20% reduction in stunting and 61% reduction in severe wasting. India’s policy framework for health and nutrition is robust and includes most evidence-based nutrition and health interventions. Two large-scale national program platforms – the Integrated Child Development Services and the National Health Mission – together deliver these interventions across the country. India’s efforts at scaling up nutrition interventions are now also bolstered by the National Nutrition Mission. This Data Note describes the coverage of key nutrition and health interventions for which data are available in the National Family Health Surveys for 2015-2016 and 2019-2021. To examine coverage of interventions, indicators were created based on global definitions and making adaptations to Indian policy context where necessary. Data on women of reproductive age (15-49 years) with a child below five years of age from the most recent birth was used to compute these indicators. Indicator definitions are provided in Annex 1 of this Note.
How is India doing on malnutrition and non-communicable diseases? Insights from the National Family Health Surveys (2005-06 to 2019-21)
Kapoor, Rati; Singh, Nishmeet; Nguyen, Phuong Hong; Singh, S. K. ; Dwivedi, L. K.; Pedgaonkar, Sarang; Puri, Parul; Chauhan, Alka; Khandelwal, Shweta; Chamois, Sylvie. New Delhi, India 2023

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A set of global nutrition targets for maternal and child nutrition together with diet related non communicable diseases ( to be achieved by 2025 was endorsed by the World Health Assembly in 2013 These targets provide goals against which progress towards ending malnutrition in all its forms can be measured and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals This data note describes trends in multiple forms of malnutrition and NCD outcomes at the national, state, and district levels for India using survey data from NFHS 3 2005 06 NFHS 4 2015 2016 and NFHS 5 2019 2021 Insights on other malnutrition targets such as anemia and breastfeeding will be forthcoming
Mitigating poverty and undernutrition through social protection: A simulation analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Indonesia
Ecker, Olivier; Alderman, Harold; Comstock, Andrew R.; Headey, Derek D.; Mahrt, Kristi; Pradesha, Angga. Washington, DC 2023

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This study addresses the policy-relevant question of how, in the face of major economic shocks, social protection interventions can more effectively mitigate undernutrition. In particular, it considers the scope of scaled-up fortification of staples to avert the “hidden hunger” of micronutrient deficiencies. As a re-cent and still relevant example, it focuses on the kinds of economic shocks brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic which, especially during the first lockdowns of April 2020, resulted in severe job and income losses for the poor and thus reduction and changes in spending, with urban and rural non-farm households typically affected more severely than farm households. However, the findings of this study are relevant for other economic shocks that severely reduce household’s disposable income.
In this study, we examine the effects of stylized economic shocks on household incomes in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Indonesia, with a focus on the difference between recommended and actual consumption of particular foods and nutrients. To this end, we use a novel combination of three integrated models to examine impacts and experiment with different types of social protection interventions. In Bangladesh and Indonesia, these are stylized models of the COVID-19 shock and government lock-downs; in Myanmar, however, we model the economic instability that took place after the February 2021 military takeover, which – in conjunction with COVID-19 impacts – resulted in an estimated 18 percent contraction in GDP (World Bank 2022).
Measuring empowerment across the value chain: The evolution of the project-level Women’s Empowerment Index for Market Inclusion (pro-WEAI+MI)
Malapit, Hazel J.; Heckert, Jessica; Adegbola, Patrice Ygué; Crinot, Geraud Fabrice; Eissler, Sarah; Faas, Simone; Gantoli, Geoffroy; Kalagho, Kenan; Martinez, Elena; Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela; Mswero, Grace; Myers, Emily; Mzungu, Diston; Pereira, Audrey; Pinkstaff, Crossley; Quisumbing, Agnes R.; Ragasa, Catherine; Rubin, Deborah; Seymour, Greg; Tauseef, Salauddin; GAAP2 Market Inclusion Study Team. Washington, DC 2023

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Many development agencies design and implement interventions that aim to reach, benefit, and empower rural women across the value chain in activities ranging from production, to processing, to marketing. Determining whether and how such interventions empower women, as well as the constraints faced by different value chain actors, requires quantitative and qualitative tools. We describe how we adapted the project-level Women’s Empowerment in Agricultural Index (pro-WEAI), a mixed-methods tool for studying empowerment in development projects, to include aspects of agency relevant for multiple types of value chain actors. The resulting pro-WEAI for market inclusion (pro-WEAI+MI) includes quantitative and qualitative instruments developed over the course of four studies. Studies in the Philippines (2017), Bangladesh (2017), and Malawi (2019) were intended to diagnose areas of disempowerment to inform programming, whereas the Benin (2019) study was an impact assessment of an agricultural training program. The pro-WEAI+MI includes all indicators included in pro-WEAI, plus a dashboard of complementary indicators and recommended qualitative instruments. These tools investigate the empowerment of women in different value chains and nodes and identify barriers to market access and inclusion that may restrict empowerment for different value chain actors. Our findings highlight three lessons. First, the sampling strategy needs to be designed to capture the key actors in a value chain. Second, the market inclusion indicators cannot stand alone; they must be interpreted alongside the core pro-WEAI indicators. Third, not all market inclusion indicators will be relevant for all value chains and contexts. Users should research the experiences of women and men in the target value chains in the context of the programto select priority market inclusion indicators.
Impact of information on demand for safe food
Hoffmann, Vivian; Kariuki, Sarah; Murphy, Mike; Ndisio, Boaz; Ochenje, Ibrahim; Okoth, Sheila. Washington, DC 2023

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Problems caused by eating unsafe food are a major health issue in many countries. Contamination by bacteria or toxins can cause these health risks, particularly for young children whose bodies are still developing. It can be difficult to know which foods are risky because you usually cannot tell by looking if food is contaminated. The goal of this research was to see whether giving consumers in Kenya infor-mation about one of these contamination risks would make them choose to purchase different products.
Is women’s empowerment bearing fruit? Mapping women’s empowerment in agriculture index (WEAI) results using the gender and food systems framework
Myers, Emily; Heckert, Jessica; Faas, Simone; Malapit, Hazel J.; Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela; Raghunathan, Kalyani; Quisumbing, Agnes R.. Washington, DC 2023

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We conduct a synthetic review of the literature examining relationships between domains of women’s empowerment and food system outcomes. Many studies report significant positive associations between women’s empowerment and intrahousehold gender equality with child dietary and nutrition outcomes, household food security, and agricultural production, but which aspect of empowerment matters for a particular outcome varies across contexts. Others document significant but mixed associations between empowerment indicators and women’s dietary diversity scores. The findings suggest women’s empowerment contributes to improved diets and nutritional status, especially for children, but that household wealth, gender norms and country-specific institutions remain important. Most papers reviewed were based on observational studies and therefore estimated associations; future research using experimental and quasi-experimental methods would add significantly to the evidence base.
What are you talking about? Applying cognitive interviewing to improve survey questions on women’s economic empowerment for market inclusion
Myers, Emily; Heckert, Jessica; Salazar, Elizabeth; Kalagho, Kenan; Salamba, Flora; Mzungu, Diston; Mswero, Grace; Adegbola, Ygue Patrice; Crinot, Geraud Fabrice; Kouton-Bognon, Baudelaire; Pereira, Audrey; Rubin, Deborah; Malapit, Hazel J.; Seymour, Greg. Washington, DC 2023

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Monitoring progress toward women’s empowerment requires tools that reflect its underlying concepts. Cognitive interviewing is a qualitative approach for identifying sources of error in how respondents respond to survey items. This study identifies cognitive errors in survey modules included in the project level Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index for Market Inclusion (pro-WEAI+MI) in Benin and Malawi. Comprehension, retrieval, judgment, and response errors were all found to different degrees in the nine modules comprising the survey instrument. There are variations in findings by country context and, to a lesser extent, gender. The findings of this study informed revisions to the pro-WEAI+MI survey instrument and offer insights into how best to design survey modules used for monitoring progress toward gender equality in agricultural value chains and development efforts.
Feeding India’s babies: Insights on trends and patterns from the National Family Health Surveys, 2015-16 to 2019-21
Ray, Soumyajit; Ashok, Sattvika; Avula, Rasmi; Nguyen, Phuong Hong; Hemalatha, R.; Singh, S. K.; Chamois, Sylvie; Menon, Purnima. New Delhi, India 2023

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Early life nutrition sets the stage for the health, nutrition, and development of young children. Optimal infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices begin with timely initiation of breastfeeding, followed by exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding. This Data Note provides an overview of trends and patterns in IYCF practices in India at the national-, state-, and district levels based on the 2015-16 and 2019-21 National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) data. IYCF indicators were created following World Health Organization and UNICEF’s 2021 guidelines.
Characteristics of fruit and vegetable MSMEs in Ethiopia: Case of Addis Ababa and Ziway/Batu
Mekonnen, Daniel Ayalew; Galema, Sophie; Nguyen, Trang; Berkhout, Ezra D.. Washington, DC 2023

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This study documents the characteristics and functioning of fruit and vegetable (FV) value chains in select places in Ethiopia. The case study employed a mixed methods approach, including a survey of 340 FV traders, six focus group discussions (FGDs), and analysis of the policy environment with respect to food and nutrition, the business climate, and the role of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in delivering safe, affordable, and nutritious foods to consumers. Among the nine types of actors that participate in the FV market and were interviewed, the majority (more than 73 percent) were retailers operating either within or outside of wet markets.
Food systems governance e-course – SHiFT work package 5 evaluation report
De Groote, Bram; Olaerts, Astrid; Herens, Marion; Dengerink, Just; Namugumya Shenute, Brenda; ten Hove, Hermine. Washington, DC 2023

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The food systems approach is increasingly being used to understand the dynamics of how food is produced and consumed, with an optimal outcome for human health, social justice, economic endeavors, and the preservation of planetary resources. Since the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) in September 2021, the food systems approach has become central to policy and practice of many international development and research organizations, multilateral organizations, and in (national) programs and policies aiming at improving food and nutrition security.
The digital divide in rural Ethiopia: Determinants and implications of sex-disaggregated mobile phone ownership and use
Warner, James; Mekonnen, Yalew; Habte, Yetimwork. Washington, DC 2023

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Mobile phones are rapidly being adopted in less developed countries, with widely acknowledged commensurate socio-economic benefits, including United Nations SDGs advocating for increased ownership of mobile phones to promote women’s empowerment. While overall mobile phone ownership is rising quickly in Ethiopia, it is lagging for rural women, particularly married rural women. Overall, we find that married men are approximately five times more likely to own a phone than their wives even though married women with phones are more active in agricultural decision making. This lack of female mobile phone ownership should be considered within the broader context of several recent Ethiopian digital initiatives, including mobile banking and mobile payments. These initiatives are likely to provide greater benefits to those individuals that own a mobile phone. By applying gender analysis to phone ownership, we believe that we can anticipate some potentially unexpected negative consequences for women created by these mobile phone initiatives. This paper outlines current rural sex-disaggregated phone ownership trends, determinants of phone ownership, and related impacts on intrahousehold decision making. We believe that by identifying these gender differences in mobile phone ownership, policymakers can better target their digital economy initiatives.
Empoderamiento de la mujer rural en Guatemala, necesidades y oportunidades de medición: Posibles aplicaciones de una Métrica de Empoderamiento de las Mujeres para los Sistemas Estadísticos Nacionales (WEMNS)
Valiente, Regina; Heckert, Jessica; Paz, Flor; Cabnal, Edwin. Washington, DC 2023

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La igualdad de género y el empoderamiento de las mujeres y niñas se ve reflejado en distintas prioridades de políticas a nivel global y local. El Objetivo de Desarrollo Sostenible 5 busca lograr la igualdad de género y empoderar a todas las mujeres y niñas. De forma correspondiente, el Gobierno de Guatemala por medio de la Secretaría Presidencial de la Mujer (Seprem) ha impulsado el tema, tanto a través de la Política Nacional de Promoción y Desarrollo Integral de las Mujeres y su Plan de Oportunidades PNPDIM-PEO 2008-2023, dentro el Eje de Desarrollo Económico y Productivo con equidad; así como también en la agenda temática de empoderamiento económico de las mujeres. Ambos instrumentos son orientadores de las instituciones públicas, a la vez que, dentro de las acciones que se han coordinado desde el Consejo de Ministras de la Mujer de Centroamérica y República Dominicana (COMMCA), el empoderamiento económico es uno de los ejes de la Política Regional de Igualdad y Equidad de Género del SICA (PRIEG/SICA). Así, el empoderamiento económico de las mujeres es una prioridad a nivel nacional en Guatemala, pero también a nivel regional.
A multi-country validation and sensitivity analysis of the project level Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (Pro-WEAI)
Seymour, Greg; Faas, Simone; Ferguson, Nathaniel; Heckert, Jessica; Malapit, Hazel J.; Meinzen-Dick, Ruth; Quisumbing, Agnes R.; van Biljon, Chloe; Gender Agriculture Assets Project Phase 2 Study Team. Washington, DC 2023

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We discuss the evolution of the project-level Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (pro-WEAI) from its initial launch in 2018 until early 2023. We explain the reasons motivating changes to the composition of pro-WEAI and the adequacy thresholds of several indicators and discuss the implications of both for the overall measurement of project impacts on women’s empowerment. We present supporting empirical results comparing projects’ impacts calculated using the abbreviated Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (A-WEAI) (the predecessor to pro-WEAI with fewer indicators and less stringent indicator cut-offs), the pilot 12-indicator version of pro-WEAI, and the final, revised 10-indicator version of pro-WEAI, based on longitudinal data from six agricultural development projects in East and West Africa and South Asia as part of the Gender, Agriculture, and Assets Project, Phase 2 (GAAP2). In addition, we assess the sensitivity of the revised pro-WEAI to an alternative weighting scheme, namely inverse covariance weighting (ICW). Overall, we find that the revised pro-WEAI performs well: In comparison to A-WEAI, pro-WEAI—regardless of version—identifies larger and more frequently significant impact estimates, indicating that pro-WEAI is more sensitive to detecting project impacts on women’s empowerment than A-WEAI. And we find only minor differences in impact estimates produced using the 12-indicator, 10-indicator, or alternate weighting scheme versions of pro-WEAI. We conclude with reflections on six years of work on pro-WEAI during GAAP2.
Aflatoxin contamination of maize flour in Kenya: Results from multi-city, multi-round surveillance
Barasa, Allan; Hoffmann, Vivian; Murphy, Mike; Ndisio, Boaz; Okoth, Sheila A.. Washington, DC 2023

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This research was undertaken to characterise the level and distribution of aflatoxin contamination of maize flour, a key food safety concern in Kenya. More than 1,200 samples of maize flour were collected and analyzed over the course of one year, allowing a robust characterization of relative risk across geography and product type. Informally milled flour was found to be significantly more contaminated than branded flour, a result attributable to the refining process applied to this flour. The results of this study can be used to inform messaging to consumers about the relative riskiness of informally versus formally milled flour, and for geographical targeting of resources for aflatoxin mitigation.