1 High-risk foods that are not handled and used correctly are the leading reason for foodborne illness outbreaks. It is estimated that 600 million (nearly one in 10 people in the world) become ill after eating contaminated food and 420,000 die each year, resulting in the loss of 33 million years of healthy life. In Zimbabwe, foodborne illness is one of the common health problems, ranging from diarrhea to cancer.
3 To save lives and promote good health, “it is important to have a well-prepared food inspection service that can achieve rapid and cost-effective control of hazardous foods,” said Victor Nyamandi, Director of the Ministry’s Department of Environmental Health Services. of health. and Child Care (MoHCC).
4 In response to this call, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under the European Union (EU)-funded project Transforming Zimbabwe’s Animal Health and Food Security Systems for the Future ( ZAGP-SAFE) has been training environmental health personnel around the world. of the country in Food Safety Risk Analysis, focusing on risk assessment, risk management and risk communication.
5 According to the FAO/WHO Food Safety Risk Analysis Guide for National Food Safety Authorities, FAO has, since November 2021, collaborated with the Zimbabwean government to train 311 food safety inspectors. food.
6 “We trained the last group of 36 food inspectors from Matebeleland North Province from April 6-8, 2022. Overall, the training strengthened the capacity and skills of the Environmental Health Officers in the Ministry, in the application of risk-based approaches during food safety inspections. , including the familiarization of the participants with the notions of combination of risks, foods and hazards”. Victor Nyamandi.
7 Speaking after the training workshop for food inspectors from Matebeleland North, FAO SAFE Project Coordinator Basil Mugweni stated that “the training would also strengthen the capacity and skills of Environmental Health Officers, including familiarization of participants with the notions of risk, food and danger. combinations.”
8 MoHCC Food Safety Manager Margaret Tawodzera noted that the training workshops improved the ability of food inspectors to identify high-risk foods or high-risk food preparation processes, as well as allowing inspectors to focus inspection on those foods or processes that are most likely to cause foodborne illness if left unchecked.
9 One of the workshop participants, Michelle Shamiso Ng’andu, a professor at Bulawayo Polytechnic, added that the training workshops equipped her with the knowledge and skills to protect consumers by implementing proper food controls to ensure that food is; properly handled, stored, manufactured, processed, transported, prepared, served and sold.
10 “It was a great honor and pleasure to be part of this workshop. This workshop will help me in my day to day activities as I am a lecturer training Environmental Health Trainees (EHT). In particular, the training challenged me to think big. I was motivated throughout the workshop and was able to identify gaps in food hygiene. I know for a fact that when I return to the area of food safety, my thrust will be to encourage students to identify problems in the community and develop simple, low-cost systems and technologies that protect their communities from food hazards,” Ng’ said. I walked
11 About the SAFE project
12 The scope of the SAFE project is not limited to training in food safety risk analysis; It also covers the development of policy documents such as the country’s Food Safety strategy, minimum health guidelines for Food Establishments, and Food Recall Regulations.
13 “FAO, under the SAFE project, is also helping the Department of Environmental Health Services to develop standard operating procedures (SOPs), capacity building through the procurement of food inspection kits and the development of a system information management on food safety and port health”, Basil.
14 In addition, the SAFE project is strengthening the capacity of the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS )to provide animal health services to improve livestock production and productivity in rural areas. To this end, the project has facilitated the development of five new regulations to improve the environment for ranchers and other value chain actors to do business easily.
15 “To bring essential veterinary supplies closer to rural farmers, the project has upgraded 26 animal health centers in 18 districts in Zimbabwe. These centers are set up to offer a wide range of valuable supplies to reduce high supply costs by eliminating travel costs and middlemen who often sell counterfeit drugs,” Basil said.
16 For the sustainability of the project’s animal health interventions, FAO has facilitated partnerships between private sector institutions and the DVS to provide sustainable veterinary input supplies, which will result in increased livestock production.