Food Safety Policy Launched

Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa on Monday launched the Namibia Food Safety Policy booklet, which assures consumers access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

The policy proposes the establishment of a National Food Safety Council as the main official coordination mechanism of food safety matters involving five ministries. Furthermore, the policy proposes the establishment of specific competent authorities on key foods such as meat and other animal products, food of crop origin, fish and fishery products, as well as processed foods and consumer food safety.

The 38-page food safety policy booklet further stipulates guidelines and standards that must be followed during the processing of food to be traded nationally and internationally so that it can be fit for human consumption.

The five ministries involved in the drafting of the Food Safety Bill are Health and Social Services Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development Fisheries and Marine Resources Urban and Rural Development and Agriculture, Water and Forestry. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is also involved.

At the launch, Mutorwa said drafting the policy has been preceded by exhaustive consultations with technical staff from all the five line ministries, including several stakeholder consultations dating as far back as 2007.

“I therefore urge those involved in informing the nation regarding this food policy to spread the massage clearly so that the nation can be informed and understand the standards so that they can be accountable once they contravene the policy,” stated Mutorwa.

Cabinet approved the policy on July 15, 2014, and the health minister will soon introduce it in parliament. “The implementation of this policy will result in safer food for all in Namibia and create greater consumer confidence in locally produced food, thereby contributing to increased food security,” said Mutorwa.

Mutorwa added that each ministry involved in drafting the policy has a crucial role to play. The Ministry of Health and Social Services would be responsible for consumer food safety, in line with the Public Health Act 36 of 1919 while the ministry of industrialisation would be responsible for safety of processed foods the ministry of fisheries would be responsible for fisheries food safety whereas the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development would be responsible for licensing food business operators. Additionally, the ministry of agriculture would be responsible for the safe production of foods of animals and plant origin, including primary processed forms.

Source : New Era