Lesotho acknowledges importance of food safety

LINEO MABEKEBEKE

HA ’MANTS’EBO – The Deputy Minister of Health ’Manthabiseng Phohleli said studies showed that over 600 million food-borne diseases in the world come from unsafe and contaminated food which not only harms life but the economy as well.

Mrs Phohleli was speaking during Lesotho’s maiden World Food Day celebration, which was held in Ha ’Mants’ebo on Friday last week.

Mrs Phohleli said the contaminated food is normally consumed by the vulnerable sectors of society including the elderly, the poor and orphaned children.

Through a longstanding partnership, she said the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) support global food safety and protect consumers’ health.

FAO, she said, generally addressed food safety issues along the food chain during production, while WHO oversaw relationships with the public health sector.

In her remarks Dr Susan Tembo from WHO said the day gave a chance to every person to think about food safety, and for all nations to speak in one voice to promote awareness on the importance of safe food.

She said celebrating world food safety day would give consumers, producers and governments a chance to focus on an issue often taken for granted, adding that food safety was invisible until one got ill.

Some chemical contaminants, Dr Tembo said, could accumulate in a human’s body and remain invisible to show up at a later stage.

“More than 600 million people fall ill and 420 000 die every year as a result of eating food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and chemicals,” she said.

This year, Lesotho focus is on milk production as a way of celebrating the 2019 world food safety day, in order to ensure the safety of milk that farmers produce.

Dr Tembo said with the support of WHO, a number of diary and farm sheds were inspected in some districts of the country. The main purpose of the inspections was to ensure that farmers follow and implement sound practices on dairy farms.

These practices, Dr Tembo said, were meant to ensure that milk and milk products produced were safe and suitable for the intended use.

She said the aim was also to ensure that dairy farm originality would be viable in the future, from the economic, social and environmental perspectives.

Dairy farmers, she showed, were in the business of producing food for human consumption, adding they must therefore be confident in the safety and quality of the milk they produced.

On behalf of the dairy farming community, Monyane Koma thanked the ministry for celebrating the World Food Safety Day in their village, adding he was aware that as a community, they lacked enough knowledge on how to take good care of their food.

As a dairy farmer, Mr Koma said for his business to flourish, he needed to properly manage his dairy cows so that they produced maximum quantities of milk.

The world food day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018, and is scheduled to be celebrated on June 7, worldwide.

Lesotho decided to join the rest of the world in commemorating this day, as a result, WHO will continue to support all the measures and ensure that all Basotho consume safe food for the benefit of their good health.

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