Civil society group launches initiative to ensure safe consumption of fruits, vegetables


An initiative to ensure fruits and vegetables consumed by the public are safe for human consumption has been launched by the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS).

This comes after CUTS expressed concern about the safety of the fruits and vegetables the public was consuming.

It has, therefore, launched a campaign titled ‘Promoting Healthy Diets, Food safety, and minimising Food Loss and Waste in Zambia’ supported by Solidaridad Zambia.

Under the project, CUTS is working with the University of Zambia, Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), National Food and Nutrition Commission and Marketers’ associations among others.

Read more: Civil Society group, CUTS, seeks transparency in debt management and Constituency Development Fund

The aim of this campaign is to give attention to food contamination as a result of unclean water, unsafe and unregulated pesticide use in the fruit and vegetables sector, says CUTS International Lusaka Country Director, Angela Mulenga.

Mulenga said the project was expected to run from this month to December this year with a potential of extension if more partners come on board.

“Food safety if not controlled with the regulator has a threat to regional trade as regional trade demand food safety standards and regulators to gain consumer confidence. Control of food systems increases competition of small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) and boost trade.

“We have launched a project we are calling safe and health food, safe and a health nation. We are looking at contamination within the fruits and vegetables from production by the farmer to the consumers.

“This is because the contamination comes with a lot of challenges to the consumers such as long and short terms diseases,” she said in an interview after the launch on Tuesday in Lusaka.

Mulenga explained that the project was about building awareness to the consumers and capacity of the producers as well as anyone along the value chain.

“The project will be implemented across the country and is optimistic that if more partners come on board it will be extended,” she said.

Commenting on the development, Lusaka Mayor Chilando Chitanga regretted that Lusaka despite owning the biggest market did not have farmers to supply food staff.

“How can we help the marketers to preserve food which result in huge losses? Water and sanitation is also a problem. We need to work on value chain for our food. Our markets have bad sanitation and it’s hard to reserve the foods. We are working with the private sector to build refrigeration at Soweto,” Chitangala said.

At the same event, Solidaridad project Manager for Soya, Fruits and Vegetables, Friday Siwale, said the meeting would set up the pace for this campaign that requires the support of everyone in terms of funds and minds put together.

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