A review of the food safety architecture in the East African Community: Animal-source foods, fruits and vegetables
Kang’ethe, Erastus K.
Kuai Kuorwel, Kuorwel
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In the 1996 World Food Summit, governments reaffirmed the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger. They pledged to work together and eradicate hunger. ‘Zero hunger’ is one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Safe food is important and should be considered in attempts to ensure a world that has adequate food and is hunger free. Globally, unsafe food is estimated to cause over 600 million cases of illness and 420,000 deaths annually, resulting in a burden of 33 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). Attention given to food safety is increasing, due to the evidence on the health and economic burden of foodborne diseases (FBD), and acceleration of drivers causing unsafe food. Governments are mandated to ensure available food is safe for human consumption. They can do this by developing and/or strengthening national food control systems (NFCS). Assessing NFCS in any country is one way to evaluate the state of food safety in the country. The findings can be used to define areas that need to be improved for better protection of consumers. Food safety experts from each of the six partner states in the East African Community (EAC), namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, were trained on food safety, through two workshops that ILRI organized in 2019. Although the training focused on risk assessment, participants were also introduced to the concept of a NFCS, its components, and usefulness in ensuring good health, protecting consumers, and for economic development (ILRI 2019). As a follow up to the training, participants from each country, led by a team leader, were expected to, working as a team, assess the food safety situation in their country. The reports from countries were reviewed and key data extracted and summarized to give this report, which combines information on EAC countries. The reviews focused on safety of two value chains, which are most often implicated in FBD and are essential for nutrition in the EAC, namely animalsource foods (ASF) and fruits and vegetables (FV). Components of NFCS include food law and regulation, food control management, inspection, laboratories, and information, education, communication and training (IECT).