The UN General Assembly and the World Health Assembly have adopted resolutions that require relevant UN agencies to assist Member States to integrate food safety into national and regional policies on health, agriculture, trade, environment and development, as a means to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This was revealed by the WHO Representative Dr Josephine Namboze at the 4th World Food Safety Day hosted in Maun. Namboze said countries will also be supported in taking actions across all relevant sectors in order to promote food safety while recognizing consumer interests. This followed a concern of food-borne disease that are caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances.
She said food can be contaminated at any stage of the food production, delivery and consumption stage. Namboze said food contamination can also result from environmental contamination like water, soil and air pollution as well as unsafe food storage.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Edwin Dikoloti says the government of Botswana ensures safe imported foods in order to provide the country with safe foods. He confirmed that in the year 2021, there was a coordination of recall of eight defective food products.
The minister gave an assurance that his ministry is working on engaged in food safety regulatory reforms to bring in modern food Safety laws. He indicated that they have proposed the Food Safety Bill with the sole aim of closing gaps in existing food safety laws.
Dikoloti added that Statistics according to WHO show that there is a high death rate caused by food-borne disease where 30% of the given number which is 420 000 people are children under 5years of age. Therefore, he stressed that consuming safer food improves health and contributes to less death rate caused by food-borne diseases thereby promoting long-term human development.
He added that the production of safe food gives better economic opportunities such as gaining international market access. Meanwhile the minister has stressed that Maun is a tourist attraction area therefore foods should be safer to ensure a satisfactory visit.
FAO Representative in Botswana (Dr René Czudek) says one of the FAO key objectives is helping eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition through improved food safety, adding that food standards promote healthy food. He says since 2009 strides haves been made to strengthen food safety systems as a collaboration of government and non-governmental agencies.
Czudek mentioned that they have provided Food Safety and Hygiene training manuals for food handlers/street vendors under the ASTF Project 2015. This he said will help educate street vendors on handling food and providing customers with safer foods.