ZANZIBAR First Lady, Ms Maryam Mwinyi, has encouraged community members, manufacturers, importers, and respective authorities to play their part to improve food safety and avoid contaminations.
She made the plea on Wednesday this week when addressing an event to mark this year’s World Food Safety Day.
After leading a four-kilometre charity walk from Mombasa to Michenzani – Mapinduzi Square, which was among activities to celebrate the day, Mama Mwinyi said that food safety is everyone’s role, hence a need for awareness raising.
“Our health is connected to regular body exercises and to ensure access to foods that are safe and free from contamination,” she said.
This year’s theme is ‘Food Standards Save Lives’.
The United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says standards are not only confined to providing farmers and processors with guidance on the hygienic handling of food, but also define maximum levels of additives and chemicals, among other components, that can be safely consumed.
Governments, organisations, and regional or intergovernmental bodies are responsible for setting such standards.
Ms Mwinyi who is the National Chairperson of Zanzibar Maisha Bora Foundation (ZMBF), said there has been an increase in diseases caused by lack of food security, something she said affects health of community members.
She encouraged the community to eat safe foods and practice healthy eating habits and do exercises to reduce the Government’s heavy medical burden. She further urged promotion of nutrition among women, children and young people.
Ms Mwinyi advised policy makers, ZFDA, scientists, farmers, food sellers, teachers, students and other consumers to increase joint efforts to ensure that food safety awareness increases in Zanzibar.
The Minister for Health, Mr Nassor Ahmed Mazrui said the ministry, through its institutions, is putting in place the best procedures to control contaminated, substandard, and expired food from entering the country.
“Let’s make sure we produce good food from a clean environment. We urge farmers and livestock keepers to feed people good food for good health,” said Mr Mazrui adding that members of the community should follow regulations and guidance regarding food production and storage.
ZFDA Executive Director, Dr Burhan Othman Simai, said the major responsibility of the institution is to protect the health of people by ensuring that food products, medicines, cosmetics, medical devices and reagents have the required quality, safety and efficiency in accordance with national and international standards.