Group urges government to strengthen food safety measures


The poor implementation of the Food Safety Act, number 7 of 2019 has resulted in increased sale of harmful food products and beverages on the Zambian market.

According to the Civil Society Organization scaling up Nutrition Alliance (CSO-SUN), there was need for government to strengthen food safety measures in the country.

CSO-SUN Country Director, Daniel Kalala, said this was in an effort to protect consumers and build a healthier nation.

He stated that no Zambian citizen should be exposed to unhealthy food products as that results into future economic challenges.

“The level of safety on food products and beverages needs to be heightened as access to safe and nutritious food is a human rights issue and unhealthy food leads to unhealthy population,” Kalala said.

He demanded that at all cost, government should do more in stopping food-borne illnesses.

Kalala emphasized that if food was not safe for consumption, then there was an infringement of a human right.

“The recent death of eight people in Lusaka’s Kanyama compound for consuming counterfeit beer is a wakeup call to the Ministry of Health to ensure that the Food Safety Act is fully implemented,” he stated.

Kalala urged government to come up with a consistent and comprehensive food quality assessment programme in all markets and other food outlets to ensure that sellers of food stuff and beverages comply with the food safety standards.

He said such a programme would permit duty bearers to understand the extent to which counterfeit or expired food products are there on the markets and proactively find long-term solutions to this issue.

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“We also urge the general public to be vigilant and work hand-in-hand with the relevant authorities to report any suspected food stuff or beverage that does not meet the basic food safety standards,” Kalala advised.

He called on Zambians to develop the habit of reading food labels before purchasing.

Kalala stated that whilst the current economic hardship might force people to settle for cheaper unhealthy products, there was need to remember that the cost of tackling illnesses in most cases was far much higher.

“We encourage government not relent in creating an enabling environment for the private sector in order for them to take a leading role in producing more nutritious foods,” he said.

Kalala noted that as Zambia strived to meet Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 2 against hunger by 2030, it was critical that food safety measures are heightened with the view to protect the consumer.

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