High-risk foods that aren’t handled and used properly are the leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks. An estimated 600 million people – nearly one in 10 people worldwide – fall ill after consuming contaminated food and 420,000 die each year, resulting in the loss of 33 million years of healthy life. In Zimbabwe, food-borne illnesses are one of the common health problems, ranging from diarrhea to cancers.
To save lives and promote good health, “It is important to have a well-prepared food inspection service that can achieve rapid and cost-effective control of unsafe foods,” said Victor Nyamandi, director of the Department of Food Inspection Services. environmental health, Ministry of Health. and child care (MoHCC).
In response to this call, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under the Transforming Zimbabwe’s Animal Health and Food Safety Systems for the Future (ZAGP-SAFE) project funded by the European Union (EU) has trained environmental health personnel from around the world. the country on food safety risk analysis, with emphasis on risk assessment, risk management and risk communication.
Based on the FAO/WHO Food Safety Risk Analysis Guide for National Food Safety Authorities, FAO since November 2021 has worked with the Government of Zimbabwe to train 311 food inspectors .
“We have trained the final batch of 36 food inspectors from Matebeleland North Province from April 6-8, 2022. Overall, the training has enhanced the capacity and skills of environmental health officers in the ministry, on the application of risk-based approaches during food safety inspections, including familiarizing participants with the concepts of combinations of risks, foods and hazards Victor Nyamandi.
Speaking after the training workshop for food inspectors in Matebeleland North, FAO’s SAFE project coordinator, Basil Mugweni, said that “the training will also build the capacity and skills of environmental health workers, including familiarizing participants with the notions of risk, food and hazard combinations.
MoHCC Food Safety Officer, Margaret Tawodzera, pointed out that the training workshops had enhanced the ability of food inspectors to identify high-risk foods or high-risk food preparation processes, while enabling inspectors to focus inspection on foods or processes that are more likely to cause foodborne illness if left unchecked.
One of the workshop participants, Michelle Shamiso Ng’andu, a lecturer at Bulawayo Polytechnic, added that the training workshops equipped her with the knowledge and skills to protect consumers by putting implementing adequate food controls that ensure food is; properly handled, stored, manufactured, processed, transported, prepared, served and sold.
“It was a great honor and a pleasure to be part of this workshop. This workshop will help me in my day-to-day activities, as I am a course instructor for the training of environmental health trainees (EHT). In particular, the training pushed me to think bigger. I was motivated throughout the workshop and was able to identify gaps in food hygiene. I know with defiance that when I return to the field of food safety, my goal is to encourage students to identify problems in the community and develop simple, low-cost systems and technologies that protect their communities from food hazards. said Ng’andu.
About the SAFE project
The scope of the SAFE project is not limited to training in food safety risk analysis; it also covers the development of policy documents such as the country’s food safety strategy, minimum sanitary guidelines for food establishments and food recall regulations.
“FAO, under the SAFE project, is also supporting the Department of Environmental Health Services to develop standard operating procedures (SOPs), build capacity through the purchase of food inspection kits and develop a food safety and port health information management system,” Basil said.
In addition, the SAFE project is building the capacity of the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) to provide animal health services to improve livestock production and productivity in rural areas. To this end, the project facilitated the development of five new regulations aimed at improving the environment to make it easier for pastoralists and other value chain actors to conduct business.
“To bring essential veterinary inputs closer to pastoralists in rural areas, the project has upgraded 26 animal health centers in 18 districts of Zimbabwe. These centers are designed to offer a wide range of valuable inputs to reduce high input costs, removing travel costs and middlemen who often sell fake drugs,” Basil said.
For the sustainability of the project’s animal health interventions, FAO has facilitated partnerships between private sector institutions and the DVS to provide sustainable veterinary input supplies, which will result in increased animal production.
Distributed by APO Group for the FAO Regional Office for Africa.
This press release was issued by APO. Content is not vetted by the African Business editorial team and none of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proofreaders or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.