Poor commmunication affecting food safety – Shamulenge

Agriculture and Livestock Permanent Secretary David Shamulenge has observed that inadequate coordination and communication among the various food regulatory agencies remains one of the challenges facing Zambia in ensuring food safety.

Dr. Shamulenge has also noted that among others, inadequate capacity to enforce food regulation effectively is another challenge that the country is facing to sustain food safety.

Speaking during the launch of the Zambia Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) workshop in Lusaka today, Dr. Shamulenge reiterated the Patriotic Front (PF) government’s desire to ensure the provision of safe and nutritious food by managing the food safety challenges.

He disclosed that to this effect government is reviewing the Public Heath Act CAP 295 and the Food Drug Act CAP 303 of the laws of Zambia.

Dr. Shamulenge has further disclosed that the draft Food Safety Bill is also currently under scrutiny by relevant stakeholders.

The Permanent Secretary has since urged the one hundred participants attending the two days workshop to take their deliberations seriously.

And speaking earlier, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Country representative George Okech observed that beyond the availability of food standards and regulations, robust control systems must exist to ensure their implementation.

Mr. Okech says a national food control system is also effective when all stakeholders who include competent authorities, the private sector and consumers can fully participate in the decision making through appropriate channels and fulfill their responsibilities.

Meanwhile World Bank acting country manager Robin Mearns has disclosed that the GFSP secretariat has proposed a National Food Safety Capacity Development Needs Assessment to be conducted in Zambia.

Mr. Mearns says its purpose is to identify a concrete set of activities and priorities that need to be addressed to improve the safety supply chain.

He says it is expected that as part of the assessment, an action plan and a resource budget will be developed as well.