World Food Safety Day;Food Standards Save Lives


By Njeri Irungu.

The World Food Safety Day(WFSD) was commemorated in Nairobi from fifth to seventh June under the theme “Food Standards Save Lives”. The objectives of the theme were to: Raise awareness on the importance of food safety and to promote action to prevent, detect, and manage foodborne diseases, Provide a platform for sharing experiences and best practices on implementation and compliance with food safety standards and measures and to foster collaboration and partnerships among stakeholders to amplify the impact of food safety interventions in Africa.

The Summit brought together over two hundred participants drawn from 30 African Union and ECOWAS member states and Development Partners such as EU, USAID and DANIDA.

Coming hot on the heels created by the momentum from the previous World Food Safety Day celebrations, there is a desire for collaborating in unison to focus efforts on reaching state and non-state actors as well as those directly involved in food systems on the continent in order to raise the profile of food safety. Foodborne diseases make 91 million people ill and cause 137,000 premature deaths annually in Africa and this translates into productivity losses of US$95 billion a year in developing countries alone;
It was observed that there is a need to promote safe trade in food to realize the continental objectives of ending hunger and tripling intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services by 2025.

At the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that there is a need to enhance participation of African countries in international standard-setting bodies and to increase investment in food safety. African states need to improve surveillance and monitoring of systems and to promote on food safety. African governments need to support policy implementation and to strengthen regulatory mechanisms. It was also noted that there is a huge need for public-private partnerships.

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