The National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA) held its inaugural Africa Food Safety Workshop from 4 to 8 June 2018 at The Capital Menlyn Maine in Pretoria. The aim of the workshop was to share ideas, receive training and define a strategy on how the region can ensure proper, internationally acceptable monitoring and testing of food and feed, to protect the consumer against unsafe food products and to safeguard exports. The objectives achieved included mechanisms to improve food safety control systems on the African continent, while establishing and strengthening networks amongst food safety stakeholders.
The workshop brought together global representatives and delegates within the analytical regulatory food testing laboratories and metrology institutes, researchers in academia, and governmental and non-governmental food programmes. The event also incorporated presentations and discussions with international experts on standards and methods of analysis and control for mycotoxins, veterinary drugs, pesticide residues and associated contaminants, including food traceability and authenticity with linkages to food microbiology, antimicrobial use and resistance.
During the workshop, Dr. Lucia Anelich, president of the South African Association for Food Scientists and Technologists (SAAFost) alluded to the fact that food safety is a factual concern and requires government prioritisation. This was mentioned during her discussion regarding the listeriosis outbreak that occurred earlier this year. Nevertheless, “food safety is not solely a government responsibility; it requires collaboration”, added Dr. Shen Ping from the Agri Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore.
The CEO of NMISA, Ndwakhulu Mukhufhi concluded the workshop by urging institutions from the private and public sector in Africa to collaborate to protect society and increase food safety awareness on the continent.
NMISA is part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (Dti) family of Technical Infrastructure (TI) Institutes. The TI is responsible for the measurement standards and sciences, procedures and the regulations as well as accreditation that gives confidence in goods and products and allows for successful prosecution in cases of non-compliance. – NMISA press release