Joseph Kirubi, the secretary of administration at the state department of crops for Kenya’s ministry of agriculture, announced that the country’s food safety will be focused on and strengthened to ensure it is in line with international practice. Some of the guidelines set out by Kirubi include those highlighted by United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“Government will emphasise on a risk-based approach to food safety control and shall require all actors along the food value chain from farm to fork to be accountable,” he said.
Kirubi added that improved food safety systems will prevent agricultural exports from being intercepted at international crossings due to noncompliance with international food safety requirements. Food exports make for more than half of the country’s overall exports, according to the ministry of agriculture.
“It is paramount that Kenya has robust sanitary and phytosanitary measures to ensure human, animal and plant health are protected,” Kirubi emphasised.
Increased food consumption, combined with a reduction in arable land and water, has resulted in the development of agricultural product technology and increased trade, necessitating effective monitoring of biological, chemical and physical food dangers.
Food testing must be maintained
Meanwhile, the government of Marsabit Country – also located in Kenya – had been instructed to draft legislation that would include cereal testing in the tax bracket. According to the Kenya News Agency, Emmanuel Bigenimana, the country’s deputy director of the World Food Programme (WFP), said passing a by-law mandating dealers in grain foodstuffs to pay for tests will also bring in needed cash for the government.
Bigenimana expressed alarm when he toured the county to review development projects and analyse the present drought condition, noting that public health officers manning micro food laboratory were experiencing reagent shortages.
The public health professionals who staff the micro labs provide free food analysis and testing, but they are having difficulty maintaining the service due to a scarcity of reagents.
WFP funded the development of laboratories in seven sub-counties last year, mostly to guarantee the safety of commodities supplied for the school meals programme.
In order to protect children’s health, collaboration between the organisation and the two levels of government is required to ensure food quality and safety.