Kenya chosen Africa’s co-ordinator for FAO food standards

Public concerns over pesticide levels, additives and contaminants have led to increased global debate on food safety. [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]

NAIROBI: Kenya is the new Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Health Organisation co-ordinator for the Codex Food Standards programme for Africa.

The country took over the co-ordination role from Cameroon, whose term ended in July.

As a co-ordinator for Africa, Kenya will be responsible for defining problems and needs concerning food standards and food control for all Codex member countries in the continent.

Other countries that have been appointed to co-ordinate for their regions are: India for Asia, Netherlands for Europe, Chile for Latin America and the Caribbean, Iran for Near East, and Vanuatu for North America and South West Pacific.

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) is the Codex contact point and will link the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) Secretariat in Rome to Kenya with regard to any CAC activities, such as drafting food standards.

Public concerns about food safety issues have placed Codex at the centre of global debate, with the programme’s meetings dominated by discussions on biotechnology, pesticides, food additives and contaminants.

Codex standards are based on the best available science.

According to Kebs Managing Director Charles Ongwae, the bureau adopts 90 per cent of Codex standards, which are implemented as national standards to ensure the safety of food for consumers.

“The success story of Kenya’s export industry illustrates how adopting international standards on all our produce can serve as a catalyst for trade and an opportunity to redefine the industry’s comparative advantage,” he added.

Kebs has adopted over 200 Codex Food Standards and several codes of practice to protect the health of consumers and facilitate trade. Food products are tested for microbiological parameters, chemical contaminants, heavy metals, storage instructions and expiry dates.

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