Kenya: Sustainable Food Systems – Why We Need to Do More to Secure Our National Food Safety Standards. Food safety is an issue for public health in every jurisdiction in the world, both for the nutrition of animals and humans. Food safety, in all of its guises and manifestations, is sensitive to the social stability and growth of a nation and has to be prioritized as a field of concern for everyone. This is because food safety is sensitive to a country’s social stability and development.
As you can see, food safety has direct and indirect consequences for national security, the economy, and social development; thus, food safety must be maintained by strictly adhering to stringent food standards.
The food that members of the public and our animals consume must instill trust that they are not at risk of being contaminated. The widespread availability of dangerous foods, which contribute to the spread of foodborne diseases, continues to have a detrimental effect on economic growth by undermining human health standards. In the recent past, our nation has seen several cases, most of which took place at educational institutions, in which students were hurt as a result of consuming tainted food. It is troubling that discussions on food safety only take place in response to individual incidents and seldom get consistent public attention.
We must continue discussing food safety outside the regulatory context and bring them into the mainstream. I am overjoyed to report that the Food and Feed Safety Control Coordination Bill, also known as National Assembly Bill No. 21 of 2023, is making significant headway in the legislative process. If everything goes according to plan, we should have a robust law very soon to ensure that food is kept safe.
Because food safety is such an essential component of food security, the quality of the food we consume may directly impact the level of productivity we achieve.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that contaminated food is responsible for 600 million instances of foodborne infections and 420,000 deaths annually throughout the globe. Children under the age of five account for 30 percent of all fatalities caused by foodborne illness. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that improper food consumption is responsible for the loss of 33 million healthy life years a year throughout the globe. This figure is undoubtedly an underestimate.
A healthy nation is one in which the populace can work and contribute to the country’s growth without being hampered by illnesses caused by diet. Implementing adequate food safety inspections has the potential to increase international trade and reputation, as well as the companies of local food producers that export their wares.
To begin, we can improve our food safety by investing in food safety training at several levels. At the institutional level, as food firms, let us regularly teach our workers to spot dangers when handling our products; we must also guarantee that we conform to the criteria for food safety. Regarding the safe packaging of food, which components and substances may be utilized? How can we prevent food contamination if we work with companies transporting food? What kind of guidelines do we establish?
Let’s involve farmers, and while we’re doing it, let’s teach them how to handle the food from their fields properly. Research released not too long ago indicated that farmers are employing harmful pesticides, which, among other things, influence the safety of food because of the chemicals contained in the pesticides. We may educate farmers on appropriate pesticides to help them avoid polluting their crops, which ultimately end up on our dinner plates. We can use the most secure methods of storing their goods after harvest to protect them from contamination and ensure the food they sell in the market is suitable for human consumption. We can keep an eye on the type of water rinsed in their fields since drinking water that has been tainted might make people more susceptible to diseases that are transmitted via food.
Second, we need stricter laws and procedures to reduce the number of incidents involving contaminated food. The National Food Safety Policy of 2021 aims to preserve and promote consumer health while also trying to unify food safety standards and regulations. This will be accomplished via the implementation of both of these goals. The ability of monitoring and regulatory agencies to carry out their task is hindered since they do not have sufficient resources. This makes them more susceptible to corruption, which, in turn, puts the public’s health at risk.
Food that has been tampered with to achieve rapid economic benefit will be protected by stringent legislation. Lobbying politicians on the most effective ways for stakeholders like us to promote food safety will help make our laws better and more robust.
Thirdly, let’s investigate to find out what modern dangers there are to the safety of our food. The discussion over foods that have been transformed using genetic engineering is another contemporary problem that has to be aggressively addressed by increasing the amount of shared information.
At Unga Group, we have invested substantially in reliable quality assurance systems, including personnel, software, and hardware. These systems include one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most technologically sophisticated and officially accredited food safety laboratories. In addition, we have tight relationships with regulators from all relevant agencies, and we have a strict policy that requires us to examine the quality standards of our goods and any safety precautions for the benefit of our customers.
There is no denying that technological advancement is one of the primary forces behind the production and distribution of food. Food technology systems, such as intelligent packaging, food authentication technologies, high-pressure sterile processing, and artificial intelligence quality control, will significantly assist in maintaining the integrity of the food supply.
We need to put our attention on adopting a sustainable food system (SFS), which is a food system that provides food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social, and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised. This is something that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations continues to advocate for in its advocacy efforts, and it is something that we need to pay attention to.