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Importance of Food Safety and How Food Safety Associates Ltd Can Help

Hello, I am Dr. Ananias Bagumire, Managing Director and Consultant at Food Safety Associates Ltd. We founded this company to help solve problems associated with food value chain that render our food unsafe for human consumption. We also help to guide value chain operators to ensure that products, whether food or not, are of better quality as required by law and by consumers. We specialize in food safety, sanitary and phytosanitary control, standards and quality control.

Let me explain to you why our company and our services are necessary to you, the importance of our work and the service we offer to ensure that the food and products consumed by the population are safe and of required quality.

 If you live in any developing country especially in Africa, you do not have a positive picture about how food is produced, transported, stored, processed, prepared and served. Our food value chain is characterized by malpractices and poor sanitation brought about mainly by lack of awareness and poor infrastructure necessary to the safety of food.  This makes our food to be contaminated with germs, chemicals and other physical materials that render food unsafe for consumption.

You may have had several cases where a visit to a restaurant or attendance of a party or function resulted into negative memories, negative because after reaching home you felt a bit of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach upsets. These could be simple signs to indicate that  the food you ate in that restaurant or party was contaminated. In our normal conversations we call this “food poisoning”.  But let me tell you, this kind of poisoning is even little of what we get to know when we consume unsafe food.

Majority of cases of food poisoning do not manifest to us immediately. We fall terribly sick in times when we cannot connect the illness with the contaminated or unsafe food that we consumed in the past. Very fatal diseases like Brucellosis, Hepatitis and others are all a result of consuming food contaminated with certain germs. But that is not all; there are chronic diseases such as cancer and reproductive defects like miscarriages, neurological defects such as those that lead to body paralysis and stroke, failure of organs like kidneys, liver, spleen and others; which are on increase in our society, that have a link to food safety!

Such health problems begin to manifest themselves later in our lives even when we cannot associate or trace where we consumed the food that caused us those problems.  That is why our lifespan in developing countries is so short. It may be traced from the unsafe food that we eat. There is a link between the safety of the food that we eat, our health living and lifespan. In countries where food safety is seriously considered, you will find the people there living longer.  Food safety problems are wide-spread.  For instance in United States of America, which has one of the safest food supply chain, about 76% of cases of hospitalization in 1999 were attributed to food-borne illnesses. In Uganda, in 2012, it was reported that 1.4 million cases that were hospitalized were attributed to food borne illnesses. This figure is of course very low for Uganda considering that majority of illnesses in developing countries especially in Africa is treated at home. Good estimates could put the food borne illnesses beyond 95% of all illnesses in Uganda.

 All these health problems are caused by consuming food that is contaminated with different microbes or germs or chemical residues which may come with food, from the farm, or unintentionally added during transportation, processing, storage, sale, or at home in the kitchen or in restaurants.

I wish to tell you that everywhere the food passes from the farm up to the fork; food has potential to pick contaminants that could be hazardous to our bodies.

That is why we are here to help you understand these problems, their sources, and how you can get rid of food contamination or reduce it to levels that are not harmful to our health. Whether you run a restaurant or hotel, food juice processing unit, grain milling plant, fish farm, dairy farm, fruit and vegetable farm, meat operations like abattoirs and butcheries, dairy operations like milk and dairy processing plants, milk cooling collection centres, food transport business, food trade business, school kitchen and dining hall, large food processing plant, supermarket, food store, sausage making unit; name it. As long as your operation involves producing, handling or placing food on market, you need us. You need us to guide you on the simplest and cheapest means of assuring the safety of your food to consumers.

Please note that what are failing our food supply system are simple, but not obvious issues that are within the control capacity of the food business operators. You need experts to guide you on options of keeping food safe.

As for quality, we all know that the quality of products on our markets has deteriorated, partly because of our weak enforcement systems, but also because of the powerful economic interests of some businesses that are hell bent on arm-twisting all forms of our safe guards to get them make money. As such, poor quality products have flooded our market, but also our producers have failed to produce the products in accordance to the law or as required by the customers. The effect is that our safety and the safety of our environment have been highly compromised. Also, the producers in poor countries like Uganda are having challenges to sell products in other markets that demand compliance with the standards.

As Food Safety Associates Ltd, we are the only private expert organization in the East African Region that is committed and dedicated for the cause of safety of the food and products consumed by our people.

We provide technical advice and guidance to enterprises and public agencies to ensure that the food and products produced and placed on market meet all the safety and quality criteria needed to safeguard the health of consumers and environment, and ensure that products are acceptable in all markets of the world.

We have a Food Safety Academy, where we train food business operators and public enforcement officials to undertake food safety and quality assurance in the manner that provides guarantees to the consumers and markets

We have tailor-made courses in:

  1.  Basic Hygiene for food business operations, targeted at operators of restaurants and hotels, meat, dairy and fish handling business operations, supermarkets and food stores, food processing establishments, farms, feed processing plants and others. This particular course is a one-day course that will introduce the participants in requirements and practices for ensuring hygiene when handling food
  2. Basic food Safety Course, which is targeted at entrepreneurs, supervisors, low cadre managers, new recruits into food businesses, fresh graduates and those opening their careers in food operations. This is a three-day course
  3. Comprehensive Course in Sanitary and Phytosanitary Management and Control,  aimed at all operators in food businesses, from farm to table; and agriculture, livestock, fisheries and health officials in government and other non governmental bodies. It is also a three-day course
  4. Executive Course in Food Safety Management and Control targeted to managerial staff, inspectors, experts, researchers, graduates and other personnel wishing to extend their careers in food safety related tasks. This course take eight days

We have also developed specific simple guide books on personal hygiene for persons working in food handling areas, food hygiene, cleaning and sanitation of food handling areas, implementation of Hazard Analysis Critical Control points (HACCP) and Managing Food Safety in food business operations that are handling key commodities commonly produced in Uganda.

Please contact us on e-mail Foodsafety@foodsafetyltd.com or A.Bagumire@foodsafetyltd.com or telephone us on +256 77 2 475784 or +256 31 2 100655 or check on our website www.foodsafetyltd.com on how to access our services, attend training or purchase any of the Guide Books.

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The Centre for Food Safety, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS), Quality, Value Addition, Local and International Trade.