Minister calls for international food standards

Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Ellen Gwaradzimba has challenged companies in the food industry to adapt to international standards in their operations.

BY STAFF REPORTER

Ellen Gwaradzimba

Gwaradzimba made the remarks in a speech read on her behalf by Lucky Basopo, the principal director in her office last week after local food manufacturing company, Associated Foods Zimbabwe (AFZ) Pvt Limited received an ISO 22000 Food Safety Management System certificate.

“There can be no development if our people are exposed to unsafe food. International standards like ISO 22000 therefore become critical to make sure our people eat food that is as safe as in many countries across the globe. ISO 22000 Food Safety management system defines what an organisation must do to demonstrate its ability to control food safety hazards and ensure that food is safe for consumption.”

Gwaradzimba said with realisation that food supply chains are now crossing multiple borders as countries strengthen their export business, collaboration between governments, producers and consumers is becoming more apparent to ensure food safety.

“As government we certainly need to ride on both local and foreign investors.”

Gwaradzimba said with commitment from management and guidance from Norfund, AFZ is now one of the few companies in the country that have taken food safety to the highest level.

“Unsafe food poses global health threats, endangering infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with underlying illnesses are particularly vulnerable. The risks of unsafe food are substantial, but can be difficult to quantify. Unsafe food containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, cause more than 200 diseases ranging from diarrhoea to cancer. According to World Health Organisation, food and water-borne diseases kill an estimated two million people annually,” she said.

She said international standards allow big and small organisations to implement a robust food safety system that is not only accepted worldwide but also ensures consumer trust in the supply of safe food.

“The main benefits to AFZ of implementing ISO 22000 Food Safety Management System include promoting international trade (exports) by increasing confidence in food safety, enables the company to focus on food safety as the top priority and gives customers confidence in the safety of the company’s products and easy to integrate into quality management systems,” she said.

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