Deputy President William Ruto has said the Government is committed to the development of the country’s food safety and quality standards to safeguard the health of consumers.
He said the Government is adopting scientific and innovative food safety management systems to not only protect consumers but also ensure fair trade practices in the production of food.
Dr Ruto said the relevant Government agencies are working together to ensure food safety throughout the various stages in food production.
He said: “The ratification of food fortification by the Kenya Food Fortification Agency in our country, is a milestone in the standardization of nutritional content improvement of processed food.”
He added: “Similar to this is the establishment of the Kenya National Food Safety Coordination Committee, which takes a multi-agency approach to safety along the entire food value chain, ensuring farm-to-fork integrity in food production.”
The Deputy President made the remarks while officially opening the 23rd Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Coordinating Committee for Africa held at a Nairobi hotel.
Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), a joint food standards program of the FAO and WHO, which has six regional coordinating committees including the Africa Region Codex Coordinating Committee (CCAFRICA), runs the session.
The five days event brings together over 300 delegates from 49 African Region Codex members and members from the rest of the world.
Dr Ruto said investment in food management safety through regulations, laboratories, surveillance and monitoring will ensure the consumer’s health is not threatened by unsafe food.
The Deputy President called for increased funding towards food safety management systems arguing that the food value and supply chains are complex hence pose a challenge to the safety of food we consume.
He said: “The Codex Alimentarius Commission deserves our support. Sustainable funding through FAO and WHO is indispensable.”
The Deputy President challenged the Africa’s food scientists to spearhead Codex’s ambitious food safety agenda for the continent.
He also challenged the African Union (AU) to join the league of dependable donors by allocating more resources to food safety management initiatives noting financial constrains has resulted to lack of scientific data of Africa’s food safety.
Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said the session was a good forum for the various stakeholders in the food production chain to come up with suitable food safety polices.
Mr Kiunjuri said: “It is my expectation that these distinguished delegates will take advantage of the wealth of knowledge brought together at this session to come up with practical solutions to enhance consumer confidence in the food that is traded across Africa and the world.”
Kenya’s WHO representative Rudi Eggers said food safety has over the years gained importance due to its health and economic significance.