The state of food safety has become an issue in recent time. All over the globe, there is a large disease burden of food borne illness as reported by WHO. There is a considerate amount of data regarding this.
What is food Safety?
Finding yourself reading this means you might have a clue of what exactly food safety is? If you don’t already know, let’s break it down for you. To understand what food safety is, we first need to appreciate what food-borne illness is. Simplified, food borne illness are any form of illnesses that arise from eating contaminated food or water. Interesting fact, there are more than 30 different types of food borne illnesses known. There is a lot of information regarding some of these diseases, including risk factors, symptomatically, as well as prevention and treatment, if you’re looking to familiarize yourself with these you can go ahead and have a read.
Food Safety in Kenya
The state of food safety in the country has come under a lot of scrutiny recently. Last Year alone (2017), the country was hit by numerous cases of food-borne illnesses and outbreaks, which made headlines all over the news. This brought to light the dwindling state of food safety in many parts of the country.
We can’t help but mention the most prolific cases of these, being those of cholera, spread across the country. There were a total of 3967 laboratory-confirmed and probable cases reported between the month of January and November 2017. Unfortunately, some of these cases resulted in deaths of 76 people.
Aside from all the talk of food safety and cholera, a lot of caution has to be exercised with some of the food products that we consume. Sometimes, food-borne illnesses are not only the cause of food safety concerns but rather unscrupulous businessmen who try to profit from food products that they sell at the expense of innocent citizens. This trend dates back to April 2016, when Kenya Dairy Board in Nakuru busted scrupulous traders for selling adulterated milk containing hydrogen peroxide hoping to lengthen shelf life and to make it whiter. This is just milk alone. Moving on and in 2017, a lot of cases have been reported all pointing to a number of people using chemicals and toxic element in foods with a general goal, hasten the process of ripening, and profit over a shorter time. Dangerous levels of toxins like calcium carbide, hydrogen peroxide, polychlorinated biphenyl-laden transformer oil, formalin, and lead have been reported from test samples of foods in Nairobi. These are just a few examples that point out to the dwindling state of food safety in the country.
What the government has done and is doing
The government of Kenya has been involved in ensuring the highest cases of food safety in the country. Some of its efforts are evident to the public. In July 2017, the government closed two hotels; Jacaranda hotel and San Valencia hotels in relation to the cholera outbreak in Nairobi County. I’m pretty sure we can all recall that. But the most significant of these efforts towards the course of last year was the reactivation of the Cholera and the implementation of the Cholera Response Plan within 21 days. These really helped to control some of the cholera outbreaks in the country. Other measures put in place were those of heightened surveillance for acute watery diarrhea, providing clean potable water, and community sensitization on prevention and control of cholera. The government is also taking matters of food safety to court by fining and arresting scrupulous traders and businessmen who want to profit at the expense of compromising food safety.
What we should all do in 2018
We can all be good ambassadors of food hygiene and food safety. These could help to significantly lower the number of food borne illnesses and food outbreaks in the country. We can start by first sensitizing food handlers and vendors whether along the streets or designated food parks and markets, to uphold good food handling practices and strive to provide safer food to people. Poor kitchen hygiene both in homes and restaurants has recently been cited as a leading cause of food borne illnesses . In 2018, let’s all strive to keep our kitchens clean, cook our food properly and avoid contamination that would lead to the case of food borne illnesses. Simply put, let’s all ensure the highest standards of food safety.
As Africa’s leading Capacity Building and Management Consultancy Center, Indepth Research Services has organized a 10 days Course on Nutrition and Food Safety . For more information click <<HERE>>for the registration of the Course to be held on 12th-23rd March 2018 Nairobi Kenya and secure your chance to be enlighten yourself on the basic principles of Nutrition, health and food safety. We will train about macro and micro nutrients, digestion, food safety and technology and nutrition for an active lifestyle. Participants will also conduct a thorough self-dietary analysis.
By: Ignatius Weru
Digital Marketer – Indepth Research Services