In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the topic of “Food safety: a critical part of the food system in Africa”, since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in this briefing.
Food-borne disease prevalence in rural villages in the Eastern Cape, South Africa
Globally, one out of 10 people fall ill after consumption of contaminated food, with the highest burden occurring in Africa, followed by Southeast Asia, whereas in Europe, the lowest burden of food-borne diseases is reported. The prevalence of food-borne diseases varies vastly in different countries. In Africa, it is estimated that 92 million people fall ill from consuming contaminated foods, resulting in 137 000 deaths each year. Yet, food safety does not seem to be a major concern within many countries in this continent. For instance, in Ghana, Mali, Kenya and Uganda, food safety does not appear to be a major concern. In South Africa, Korsten states that there is no adequate capacity to forecast and track food-borne diseases even though there have been many outbreaks of food-borne diseases, across different provinces, particularly among school children. This indicates the necessity for a good surveillance system, which could monitor the outbreak of a food-borne disease and prevent it from spreading. In developed countries such as the United States, surveillance systems were developed to collect, analyse and share health data. However, many challenges of food safety exist in South Africa. These include a lack of coordination of the many government departments, which regulate food safety. Food-borne diseases is likely to increase in low- and middle-income countries because of the consumption of food such as uninspected meat, fish products as well as fresh produce.
SON develops international standards for staple food products
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has developed international standards for most of the country’s staple food products such as garri, dry beans, soya beans, rice to aid acceptance of its agricultural products in the international market. According to Director, Standards Development, Chinyere Egwuonwu, the standards were developed to ensure they meet the global benchmark and put an end to the high level rejection of Nigeria’s agricultural produce at the international markets. SON is looking to enhance uniformity of standards for agricultural products with CODEX to boost food export and stop rejections of local agro products overseas due to quality and integrity concerns. “We have developed standards for many agricultural products, like Shea butter, dry beans, smoked fish, yam flour, plantain chips, sesame seeds, oil, Rice, Cocoa, Cocoa Butter and Garri. “It will interest you to know that the standard we developed for garri is accepted globally and now adopted by countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
‘Fake food’ in South Africa: myths, misinformation and not enough data
Owners of small shops in South Africa – in most cases foreigners – have been accused of stocking counterfeit food and food that’s past its sell-by date. The issue has been caught up in xenophobic violence, with shop owners targeted by South Africans. There is very little hard data about what’s referred to as “fake food” in both the formal and informal sectors. This means the issue is politically charged and dominated by opinions, not evidence. The Conversation Africa’s Ina Skosana asked Jane Battersby-Lennard and Gareth Haysom to unpack this issue. There are many different kinds of counterfeiting. Not all pose a risk to consumers, though some clearly do. Counterfeit doesn’t necessarily mean unsafe, and consumers aren’t necessarily unaware of counterfeiting. They may, in fact, choose these goods for cost or convenience reasons. Counterfeit foods that don’t pose a risk include what are called “diverted products”. These goods are only licensed to be sold in one place or in one format but are sold elsewhere. This could include multipack items sold individually, free promotion goods being sold, or supermarket brand items being sold outside a supermarket. They could be over-runs from factories, or goods taken from food producers by employees and sold on.
Ban on S/African fruit, veggies exports to Egypt lifted
Egypt has lifted a temporary suspension imposed on fresh fruit and vegetables imported from South Africa into the North African country, the agriculture ministry has said.Egypt’s temporary suspension was imposed on 10 May 2018 due to an outbreak of listeriosis in South Africa, which affected mainly pre-cooked, ready-to-eat meat products. According to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry on Wednesday, Egypt’s decision to lift the suspension follows Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s announcement that the listeriosis outbreak is over, and that no new cases have been reported in the last three months. “The ministry would like to emphasise that all exporters of fresh fruit and vegetables must comply with all phytosanitary, food safety and quality requirements for fresh fruit and vegetables destined for Egypt export market,” the minister said.