Food safety is a global
concern. Because weak food controls can dramatically impact our day-to-day
lives, pressure from consumers, ecological associations & governmental
bodies is now driving food supply chains to implement safer food management
systems. Food safety is the assurance that food will not cause harm to the
consumer when it is prepared and/or eaten according to its intended use.
Mycotoxins, pesticides, food borne bacteria, drug residues are some examples of
harmful elements that can contaminate food. Importantly, hygiene and sanitation
in the production, processing, transportation and packaging of foods is equally
important to maintain the quality and safety of food. Applying the principles of
food safety consistently will help to steer away from a reactive approach that
responds to emergencies to a solid foundation of confidence and reliability
based on precautionary and preventive measures.
International buyers are
now starting to demand a fully operational and well-managed Food Safety
Management System (FSMS) in place (e.g. ISO 22000). FSMS therefore opens new
markets through improved competitiveness. In 2011 International Trade Centre
(ITC) reinforced capacities of advisers and experts in implementing food safety
and quality management in the agro-business sector in Kenya. Before implementing
ISO 22000, it is necessary to implement systematic food safety practices, and be
in compliance with the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) which
is a mandatory requirement in several countries and markets.
Mr. Joseph Mwangi was one
of the six experts selected to participate in a series of workshops on food
safety under the ITC project mentioned above, financed by the European Union.
After the workshops, over the course of six months, he worked with an SME in
Kenya to implement food safety, bringing the company up to the level of
certification. The company was certified to HACCP in 2013. Following this, Mr.
Mwangi proceeded to work with seven more companies. Of these, one company has
already received its certification to HACCP, two companies have received local
product certification, the SMark issued by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS),
and the remaining companies are at various stages of their certification audit.
Mr. Mwangi is currently working with another ITC project in the dried mango and
chilli sector to help village based entrepreneurs apply food safety
Mr. Mwangi, is among
several other SME advisers oriented and formed as part of ITC’s projects in
standards and quality around the world in its beneficiary countries. Specialized
workshops hone skills and technical sessions transfer business competencies and
methodologies. This strategy of building up the local competence pool,
multiplying & redeploying expertise nationally and regionally ensures
sustainability and ownership to projects, providing easier access to FSMS
services otherwise not available or affordable to SMEs.
Senior Adviser, Export Quality Management