World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

African Experts Meet On Safety Of Imported Food

UN And African Experts Meet On Establishing Safety Of Imported Foods

Two United Nations agencies have convened the first meeting of some 200 experts from 50 African countries to agree on methods of strengthening existing systems to ensure safer food imports, which account for up to 60 per cent of the foodstuff available in parts of the continent.

Foodborne diseases are a particularly serious threat to Africans already weakened from malaria and HIV/AIDS, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), said at the start of the four-day conference in Harare, Zimbabwe yesterday.

“Many African countries do not have adequate food security, resulting in a situation where at least 60 per cent of the food supply is imported to supplement local production,” according to a report prepared for the conference. Because there is no effective food safety regime in many African countries, imported food can add to the risk of widespread food contamination.

Improved food safety would reduce the 2,000 deaths estimated to occur every day in Africa from foodborne and waterborne diseases, the report said, calling on all concerned – including governments, the private sector and consumers – to work towards assuring food safety “from farm to fork.”

With this goal, the conference is expected to discuss an African Strategic Plan of Action for Food Safety in an effort to reduce the threats to public health and international trade caused by food products that fail to meet international quality and safety standards.

The Conference will also discuss prevention and control of mycotoxins in such African staple crops as maize, groundnuts and dried fruits.

“Several devastating outbreaks of foodborne diseases such as cholera, salmonellosis, entero-haemorrhagic Escherichia coli, hepatitis A and acute aflatoxicosis have occurred in a number of African countries recently,” WHO’s Dr Chris Ngenda Mwikisa said. “Already this year 34,000 cases of cholera due to contaminated water and food have been reported in 30 countries with more than 1,000 deaths.”

FAO Assistant Director-General Hartwig de Haen added: “Establishing pan-African food safety standards will not only save lives and improve the health of African people, it will go a long way toward helping Africa join in international trade and raise African living standards, particularly in rural areas where most of the poor are subsisting.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Abu Akleh Shooting: Fatal Shot Came From Israeli Forces, Says OHCHR
Israeli forces were behind the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank - not indiscriminate Palestinian firing - the UN human rights office, OHCHR, alleged on Friday... More>>


Ethiopia: Conflict, Drought, Dwindling Food Support, Threatens Lives Of 20 Million

Hunger is tightening its grip on more than 20 million Ethiopians who are facing conflict in the north, drought in the south and dwindling food and nutrition support beginning next month, the UN food relief agency warned on Thursday... More>>


Euro Med Monitor: Syria Cross-border Aid Mechanism Extension Is Necessary For The Survival Of Millions

Permanent members of the UN Security Council should extend the cross-border aid to northwestern Syria, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said Tuesday in a statement...
More>>



UN Ocean Conference: Opens With Call For Urgent Action To Tackle Ocean Emergency
With climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution exacting a devastating toll on the world’s ocean — critical to food security, economic growth and the environment... More>>

World Vision: Deeply Concerned For Thousands Affected By Afghanistan Quake
World Vision is deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in the wake of a powerful earthquake in the early hours of this morning... More>>



Malaysia: UN Experts Welcome Announcement To Abolish Mandatory Death Penalty

UN human rights experts* today commended an announcement made by the Malaysian government that it will abolish the country’s mandatory death penalty and encouraged Parliament to take concrete steps to pass the agreement into law... More>>