Government says its concerned with anthrax outbreaks in Luampa, Kaoma and Nkeyema in Western province.
Western Province permanent secretary Mwangala Liomba says eighteen people in the three districts have so been diagnosed and treated for anthrax after they ate suspected anthrax infected meat.
Mr Liomba who was represented by Luampa District Commissioner, Alfred Miyato said when he officiated at this year’s World Health Day commemoration held at Kaoma state prisons ground under the theme, “ Food safety” with the slogan “ from the farm to plate, make food safe.”
And the Permanent Secretary said that government recognizes food security as a key developmental goal to increasing productivity and value addition for crops, livestock and fisheries.
He said it was government ‘s aim to improve food security and nutrition in the area as Kaoma is the hub of agricultural activities in the province.
He said, there is need to incorporate food safety to achieve meaningful food security as safe food supplies support national economies, trade and tourism in the country.
Mr Liomba said that, if food supplies are insecure people tend to resort to less healthy diets and consume more unsafe foods which has chemicals, microbiological and other hazards that pose health risks.
He stressed that government recognizes the pivotal role of strengthening existing policies and regulatory frameworks in establishing and implementing effective food safety systems.
He added that this was in order to ensure that food producers and suppliers along the food chain operate responsibly and supply safe food to consumers.
Mr Liomba has however, called on manufacturers, retailers and other stakeholders in the country to be alert to the dangers of food contamination as food-borne diseases are caused by foods improperly prepared at home, food service establishments and the markets.
He has urged all public health practitioners in the councils and district medical officers in the province to closely monitor and ensure that food suppliers adhere to the existing regulations enshrined in the public health Act, the food and drugs Act and the consumer protection Act that promote food safety amongst consumers.
And speaking earlier, Provincial Medical Officer, Andrew Silumesii said about 149 food items were seized as they were expired and unfit for human consumption from 18 shops in Kaoma district.
Dr. Silumesii said food retailers, market traders and food handlers from restaurants and butcheries have been sensitized on issues related to food safety and hygiene and legal provisions governing food safety in the country.
He said National regulatory bodies in the country should strengthen protection measures that encourage prevention, early detection and response to food-borne disease outbreaks in line with International food standards, guidelines and codes of practices covering all the main foods.