The high-level East African Community (EAC) regional meeting for policy and decision makers on Food Safety and Codex activities in the EAC has called for fostering regional and international collaboration among Partner States to enhance food safety practices, facilitate trade and establish partnerships and knowledge-sharing networks.
This, according to Uganda National Bureau of Standards which is the the Codex Contact Point in Uganda, has been decided as part of the recommendations on mitigating the impact of the current Food Safety issues of interest in the region.
The Executive Director of UNBS, Daniel Richard Makayi Nangalama, said they are committed to the continued engagement of members in the EAC region through designing and delivering capacity building activities in collaboration with FAO, WHO and CODEX Secretariat.
This is in line with ensuring that East African Community Partner States effectively participate and contribute to food safety and the Codex process.
“Statistics from WHO indicate that unsafe food kills an estimated 420,000 people annually yet the deaths are preventable. On the other hand, safe food allows for suitable intake of nutrients and contributes to a healthy life. Safe food production also improves sustainability by enabling market access and productivity, which drives economic development and poverty alleviation, especially in rural areas,” he said.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Francis Mwebesa pledged government commitment to investing in quality standards and infrastructure like food safety laboratories to ensure accessibility and availability of safe food in Uganda, and exports to the region.
The Principal Standards Officer of the East African Community Secretariat, Ms. Stella Apolot appreciated the efforts put in place to strengthen food safety in the region, but noted that Aflatoxin levels are still a food safety challenge in the region. She thus called for a lasting solution to put an end to it.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) is an international food standards body established jointly by FAO and WHO in 1963 with the objective of protecting consumer’s health and ensuring fair practices in the food trade. This year Codex celebrates 60 years of developing internationally accepted food standards and continues to contribute to the current global agenda on transformation of food systems.