Govt tight­ens food safety reg­u­la­tions

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - ANALYSIS - Rumbidzai Mu­parutsa

GOV­ERN­MENT has in­ten­si­fied en­force­ment of health safety reg­u­la­tions that will see strict ad­her­ence to an­nual med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions for all food han­dlers and test­ing of ex­port and im­port food­stuffs.

The mea­sures come as food out­lets sprout across the coun­try and the in­flux of food­stuffs that are not prop­erly la­belled.

The Sun­day Mail has gath­ered that the Min­istry of Health and Child Care has de­ployed health of­fi­cers coun­try­wide for in­spec­tions and to take ac­tion against those in vi­o­la­tion of reg­u­la­tions.

This comes as part of Gov­ern­ment ef­forts to safe­guard the na­tion against dis­eases and food poi­son­ing.

In an in­ter­view last week, Health Min­istry Food Safety and Port Health Ser­vices Deputy Direc­tor Mr Vic­tor Nya­mandi said, “The Food Han­dler Or­der that we are us­ing de­mands that all food han­dlers should have med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion cer­tifi­cates is­sued by a Gov­ern­ment med­i­cal doc­tor.

“This ap­plies to big ho­tels and any other busi­ness op­er­a­tion. They are man­dated to send all food han­dlers for med­i­cal ex­ams and our in­spec­tors have been con­duct­ing ran­dom rou­tine in­spec­tions. Food han­dlers must be screened and tested for TB, ty­phoid, and cholera, amongst oth­ers, an­nu­ally.”

Mr Nya­mandi said the Health Min­istry would en­force the Food and Food Stan­dards Act, which many had ig­nored for years.

“There are spe­cific foods that are not al­lowed in the coun­try and Statu­tory In­stru­ment 8 of 2015 ad­dresses how busi­ness peo­ple can im­port food into the coun­try,” he said.

SI 8/2015 says any­one im­port­ing food needed per­mis­sion from Gov­ern­ment and was ex­pected to meet safety stan­dards.

Mr Nya­mandi added, “Be­fore the food is in­spected, we need sam­ples to es­tab­lish if it meets the stan­dards. When the food meets the na­tional re­quire­ments and all the jus­ti­fi­ca­tions of the food to be im­ported are made then the food is im­ported.”

Mr Nya­mandi said health in­spec­tors at Robert Gabriel Mu­gabe In­ter­na­tional Air­port had been al­most dou­bled from 17 to 32 to screen food, hu­man traf­fic and corpses.

Gov­ern­ment also in­spects all food do­na­tions at ports of en­try.

Food han­dlers must be screened and tested for TB, ty­phoid, and cholera, amongst oth­ers, an­nu­ally

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