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Garissa County, WFP establishes food testing Labs

Garissa County Government has unveiled three quality assurance-monitoring labs aimed at ensuring food sold locally was safe for consumption.

The mini-labs were established in collaboration with World Food Programme (WFP) and have been set up in Garissa, Masalani and Dadaab where they will grade foodstuff and detect the presence of toxins such as aflatoxin and fumonisin.

Previously food samples had to be taken to Nairobi for testing and quality assurance.

Speaking during the launch of the Garissa lab today, County Secretary Abdi Sheikh said the unveiling of the mini-labs was ‘timely and crucial’.

Sheikh said that 90 per cent of the food sold in local shops was sourced from neighbouring Somalia where quality standards were not enforced.

“These mini-labs will allow our public health team to step up its capacity to ensure sanitary and phytol-sanitary standards are maintained,” Sheikh said.

He added that the government was inspiring action to help prevent, detect and manage food borne risks.

Yussuf Ali Officer In-Charge of WFP Garissa branch said his office, jointly with the University of Nairobi, has trained and certified 12 county Public Health Officers on food quality and safety.

Today marks World Food Safety Day (WFSD), which is celebrated on June 7 every year and aims to draw attention and inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development.

This year’s theme, ‘Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow’, stresses that production and consumption of safe food has immediate and long-term benefits for people, the planet and the economy. Recognising the systemic connections between the health of people, animals, plants, the environment and the economy will help us meet the needs of the future.

Food safety is a shared responsibility between governments, producers and consumers.  Everyone has a role to play from farm to table to ensure the food we consume is safe and healthy.

Through the World Food Safety Day, WHO works to mainstream food safety in the public agenda and reduce the burden of foodborne diseases globally.

By Erick Kyalo

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