Food Safety Africa Magazine Issue 1

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The Future of Food in Africa








Eastern Africa’s Biggest Food Products & New Technologies Trade Show







Smarter, faster, together. Every business has challenges; ours is to help you overcome yours. Ishida can help you get your product to market quicker, without compromising quality or compliance. From foreign body and leak detection through to checkweighing, working smarter, faster, together, we can help you achieve higher standards at every stage of your quality control process.

14th – 15th July 2021 Nairobi, Kenya





news digest #001

MALDI Biotyper® sirius and IR Biotyper® for industrial laboratories No doubt you have already heard about MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry? MALDI-TOF stands for MatrixAssisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-Of-Flight. Some of you may already be using MALDI-TOF for microbiology, others may not. No problem - in this first News Digest we would like to introduce you to our latest MALDI Biotyper® sirius platform for microbial identification! For sure, microbiological analyses can be diverse and colorful. You are familiar with microbial identification based on biochemical reactions, electrophoresis methods, PCR or Real-time PCR, sequencing, or radioanalytical methods? Take a chance to learn about our innovative unbiased fingerprinting solution using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry for microbial identification. Subsequently, our IR Biotyper® system based on FT-IR spectroscopy will be shortly highlighted as a strain typing method which can seamlessly be combined with the MALDI Biotyper® sirius system.



The Bruker MALDI Biotyper® can be used as a reliable rapid test method for hygiene monitoring, food and pharmaceutical quality control, pathogen detection, plus food safety related analytical questions. We also see the MALDI Biotyper® applied in environmental monitoring, control of pharmaceutical production strains, detection of animal or plant pathogens or water analysis. On top of that, plenty of research topics benefit from using the MALDI Biotyper®, such as projects on microbiomes, probiotics, beverages or new food – e.g. meat and milk alternatives are trendy and raise new questions in microbiology. Proteomic fingerprinting with the MALDI Biotyper® offers you identification of bacteria, yeast and molds in minutes, starting from colony material. The beauty of the method is that you can measure both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, yeast and molds, in parallel, in one run. No need for many assays or different reaction plates.


Selection of colony of unknown microorganism from non-selective, selective or chromogenic agar

Preparation onto MALDI Biotarget 96 plate

96 samples from colony to identification in 30 minutes

Identification by pattern matching

Acquisition of MALDI-TOF profile spectrum

Basic principle: Cell material of gram-positive, gram-negative bacteria or yeast or mold is applied to a MALDI Biotarget 96 (96 sample positions), followed by adding a small droplet of “matrix” solution and air-drying. Once in the vacuum of the MALDI-TOF system, fast laser shots vaporize the sample’s proteins, which are then separated according to their mass during their flight through the flight tube, towards the detector, resulting in a very specific proteomic fingerprint mass spectrum of the microorganism. This fingerprint is then matched against the Bruker reference library of fingerprints, covering more than 3000 species.

Our MALDI-TOF instrument portfolio has grown over the years, and many of you may already be familiar with the microflex LT/SH or the MALDI Biotyper® smart. The new MALDI Biotyper® sirius series has recently been launched, addressing the abovementioned hygiene monitoring, quality and safety questions. With this new instrument platform, the whole procedure has become even faster, allowing low-, medium- and high-throughput sample processing, and is reliable and easy to use for all levels of sample numbers. The accompanying “fingerprint” reference library, covering more than 3000 species, can be used with the existing as well as with the new instruments, meaning that results are perfectly comparable throughout all MALDI Biotyper® systems. Additional good news is that we keep the performance wheel turning by an annual update of the reference library, increasing year after year the number of species covered by the method.

Complementary, our IR Biotyper® system allows sameday strain typing of colonies, based on FT-IR spectroscopy. The IR Biotyper®, for which recently a new software version has been launched, enables easy, fast and cost-effective microbial typing for real-time quality control and source tracking.

IR Biotyper®

Are you interested to identify Legionella and discriminate Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 from other serogroups? Read more in our news digests #002 and #003. Visit our website

Not for use in clinical diagnostic procedures. Please contact your local representative for availability in your country.

Bruker Daltonik GmbH Bremen · Germany Phone +49 (0) 421-2205-0

Bruker Scientific LLC Billerica, MA · USA Phone +1 (978) 663-3660 - FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET


© Bruker 03-2021, news-digest-001

The workflow is applicable for identification of hygiene and environmental species, starter cultures, microorganisms in ingredients, intermediate and semi-finished products or process water, of in-house strains, veterinary pathogens or pathogen confirmation in different food categories.








B. NEW PRODUCTS INNOVATIONS OF THE YEAR 1. Dairy Products 2. Milling, Bakery & Snack Products 3. Beverages, Tea, Coffee & Other Hot Beverage Products 4. Fresh Produce, Meat, Poultry & Fish Products 5. Sugar & Confectionery Products 6. Animal Feed & Pet Food Products 7. Culinary & Condiments Products 8. New Product – Packaging Innovation 9. New Product - Ingredients Innovation 10. New Product - Nutrition Innovation C. SUSTAINABLILITY INITIATIVES OF THE YEAR 1. 2. 3. 4.

Renewable Energy Initiative Sustainable Water & Waste Initiative Covid-19 Response Initiative Sustainable Local Raw Materials Sourcing Initiative

D. SUPPLY CHAIN, LOGISTICS & E-COMMERCE COMPANIES OF THE YEAR 1. Food Delivery & E-Commerce Innovation 2. Supply Chain & Logistics Innovation E. FOOD INDUSTRY INVESTMENTS & DEALS OF THE YEAR

Send Sponsorship, entry and attendance queries to: TEL: +254 725 343 932; INFO@FWAFRICA.NET CONFIRMED SPONSORS


The New Plants of the Year & Sustainability Initiatives of the Year to be divided into Large Companies and Small & Medium Companies. 4





Quality & lab Management

Compliance & systems Management

Appropriate Technologies







Food Safety Africa magazine

Food Safety Africa magazine






Bureau Veritas: Bureau Veritas invests in new laboratory to facilitate local, regional and export trade 28


Protecting your brand reputation on the packing line




Automation: Automation in the food industry heightens during pandemic, as food and personnel safety receive attention



FDA: FDA report highlights unsafe practices for retail deli departments


REGULARS 18 Editorial 20 News Updates: • Susan Jebb appointed chair of UK Food Standards Agency • Sesame becomes ninth food allergen requiring plain-language labelling in USA • New technology extends shelf life of fish side streams enabling upcycling into food ingredients • Food safety certification for indoor-grown leafy greens launched • European Food Safety Authority warns resistance levels still high in foodborne bacteria • New Zealand, Australia to sign off on importation of irradiated fruits, vegetables • World Animal Protection raises alarm on superbug contamination on meat sold in Kenya’s retail stores • Tyson Foods recalls ready-to-eat chicken products citing listeria invasion • Food robotics startup Soft Robotics raises US$10m to propel launch of new solutions • Kenya Bureau of Standards introduces new regulations to govern food industry • ARSO unanimously elects Ghana’s Professor Alex Dodoo as president • Kenyan manufacturers drive food safety agenda by obtaining FSSC 22000 Certification • Kenya’s Kakuzi secures GLOBALG.A. P certification, UCDA, Soy Afric upgrade to new ISO accreditation


Remarks by Frank Yiannas on World Food Safety Day 2021 at National Environmental Health Association/ Environmental Health Australia Event FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

Supplier News: • Endress+Hauser launches new automation technologies to ensure safety, productivity and flexibility • Neogen Analytics aids food manufacturers hasten data-driven safety and quality • Mettler-Toledo launches combination checkweigher metal detector systems to reduce cleaning downtime • JBT to acquire food safety solutions provider Prevenio • Corbion upgrades listeria control model to bolster food safety efforts • Shimadzu launches technology with ability to provide accurate remote laboratory analytics • EPA approves Bio-Rad’s RAPID’E. coli 2 Agar for water testing JULY/AUGUST 2021 | FOOD SAFETY AFRICA MAGAZINE



Join us as we debut Food Safety Africa magazine The new publication supports Africa Food Safety & Quality Summit - our annual African-focused international conference and expo


he subject of food safety – or lack thereof – is a major blot on Africa’s quest to feed its growing and fast urbanising population. A report from the Global Food Safety Partnership in 2019 highlighted the need for targeted investments to promote food safety at a domestic level across Africa, where foodborne illnesses claim an estimated 137,000 lives a year, according to figures from the WHO, thereby levying a public health burden similar to malaria, HIV/ AIDS and tuberculosis, combined. The report also revealed that unsafe food consumed cause human capital losses of an estimated U$16.7 billion a year in Africa, and yet an analysis of more than 500 projects and activities in sub-Saharan Africa since 2010 found that most of them focused on food safety for export markets, leaving out specific health risks, such as bacterial contamination that local consumers face when purchasing from local, informal food markets. “The future of the food system is critical to the long-term well-being of Africa and its people, and for the global food system to be a successful provider, food must be safe for everyone … With growing populations and changing diets, now is the time to take stock of the current food safety landscape in Africa and for new efforts to address old challenges”, said Juergen Voegele, Senior Director for Food and Agriculture Global Practice at the World Bank. WHY FOOD SAFETY AFRICA MAGAZINE? Food Safety Africa magazine is the first publication that is solely focused on the subject of food safety, quality management and compliance in


Africa’s food and agriculture sector. The magazine, set to be launched in July 2021, is focused on boosting the capacity of the food and agriculture value chain stakeholders in Africa to procure, store, transport, process, package and sell wholesome, nutritious, and safe food products The magazine will cover the most critical aspects of the industry, including latest regulatory and policy updates from various regulatory agencies in Africa and beyond; latest investments in infrastructure and facilities such as laboratories etc. in Africa; new technologies by suppliers of equipment, chemicals and diagnostic solutions; technical articles on food safety, quality management and compliance; interviews and high quality features and profiles of leading companies in the food and agriculture value chain in Africa; and the latest market trends and ideas that are shaping the future of food safety in Africa and the World. Set to be published every quarter originally, before moving to a bimonthly schedule, the magazine will support the growth of our premium industry event, Africa Food Safety & Quality Summit, which is slated for mid-July 2021 – and is planned to be a yearly conference and expo. As publishers of Food Business Africa magazine, the new Food Safety Africa magazine expands our scope and provides the platform to highlight food safety, quality and compliance better than we have managed to do with Food Business Africa. Please visit the website to discover more.


Year 1 | Issue 1 | No.1

FOUNDER & PUBLISHER Francis Juma EDITORIAL Virginia Nyoro | Catherine Wanjiku | Catherine Odhiambo ADVERTISING & SUBSCRIPTION Jonah Sambai | Hellen Mucheru DESIGN & LAYOUT Clare Ngode PUBLISHED BY: FW Africa P.O. Box 1874-00621, Nairobi Kenya Tel: +254 20 8155022, +254725 343932 Email: Company Website:






Food Safety Africa is published 6 times a year by FW Africa. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission from the editor is prohibited. All information is published in good faith. While care is taken to prevent inaccuracies, the publishers accept no liability for any errors or omissions or for the consequences of any action taken on the basis of information published.

We wish you a good read Francis Juma CEO & Founder










Susan Jebb appointed chair of UK Food Standards Agency

UK – The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), has appointed Professor Susan Jebb, one of Britain’s leading scientists, as its new Chair following a public preappointment scrutiny hearing in line with parliamentary procedures. Jebb took on the role from 1 July for three years, allowing Ruth Hussey, who had been acting as interim Chair over the last few months following the departure of Heather Hancock, to return to her role as Deputy Chair. Susan, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, comes to the role with a wealth of experience and expertise having served in a number of high-level boards on food nutrition and safety. She has previously chaired the crossgovernment expert advisory group on obesity (2007–2011), the Department of Health responsibility deal food network (2011–2015) and public health advisory committees for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2013-2018). Susan has a long-standing interest in the translation of scientific evidence into policy. “I am delighted to be appointed to Chair the Food Standards Agency. This is an important time for our food system, and I am looking forward to building on the trust that government has placed in the FSA to play a full and active role in the challenges which lie ahead,” Prof. Jebb said. Susan will continue with her parttime appointment at the University of Oxford alongside the role as Chair of FSA. 10


Sesame becomes ninth food allergen requiring plain-language labelling in USA US – Sesame has become the ninth food allergen for which the US Food and Drug Administration requires plain-language labelling, following the signing of a new law by US President Joseph Biden. With the new law, food manufacturing companies making foods formulated with Sesame will be required to clearly label sesame as an allergen from 1 January 2023. The legislative milestone marks the first time since 2004 that a new allergen has been added to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act. Sesame will join peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, dairy, eggs and wheat

to make “the Big Nine” that account for about 90 percent of food allergy reactions. Presently, foods cooked in sesame oil often do not need to be labeled with the presence of “sesame” while sesame seeds are often identified generically as “spices” or even “natural flavors,” instead of as “sesame.” This has made it hard for the over 1.5 million people with a sesame allergy to determine whether a product actually contains it. SESAME JOINS PEANUTS, TREE NUTS, FISH, SHELLFISH, SOY, DAIRY, EGGS & WHEAT TO MAKE “THE BIG NINE” THAT ACCOUNT FOR ABOUT 90% OF FOOD ALLERGY REACTIONS.

The FASTER Act amends Section 201(qq) (1) of the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act by adding sesame as the ninth major food allergen, making it imperative that it be identified as an allergen and, in an effort, to help consumers to make more informed decisions.



New technology extends shelf life of fish side streams enabling upcycling into food ingredients

EUROPE – Producing food ingredients from fish side streams has been a challenge for food manufacturers as their unsaturated fatty acids are very sensitive to oxidative degradation. One only has a small window of time, mostly 12 hours, before oxidative degradation affects the quality of the side streams, resulting in a rancid taste and odor that eventually reduces the sensory impression of both the raw material and final products. European researchers went to work, investigating ways to reduce the rancidity of upcycled ingredients and discovered that herring fillet side-streams, using a solution containing rosemary extract and citric acid, among other ingredients could extend the time until rancidity develops. Their findings show that dipping herring in this solution prior to their storage at 0°C or 20°C, significantly extend the time until rancidity develops. More specifically, the time could be extended from less than half a day to more than three and a half days at 20°C, and to more than 11 days at 0°C. “The new technology gives a valuable window of time for seafood producers to store or transport the side-streams prior to further upgrading into food ingredients,” says Ingrid Undeland, a professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and co-author of the report. Results further revealed that even after re-use of the solution up to 10 times, rancidity was completely inhibited at 0°C.



Food safety certification for indoor-grown leafy greens launched

GLOBAL – A new food safety certification program specifically designed for leafy greens grown using controlled environment agriculture (CEA), has been launched by the CEA Food Safety Coalition (CEA FSC). The CEA FSC’s Leafy Green Module uses science-based standards to assess food safety practices in areas including water and pesticide use, site control and hazard analysis. CEA FSC’s module will assess hazards associated with water, nutrients, growing media, seeds, inputs, site control and more. Systems using recirculating water will require continuing hazard analyses while all food contact surfaces and adjacent surfaces will need to be assessed for contamination risks. Companies that pass the module will be able to use the CEA food safety certified seal on their product packaging. Members of the CEA industry first proposed the program in 2019 to distinguish indoor-grown greens from those raised in fields. For those unfamiliar with CEA, it features plants that are grown yearround through hydroponic, aeroponic or aquaponic methods, many without pesticides and protected from the weather. CEA cultivation is said to allow for greater control over growing conditions. This not only includes temperature, humidity and light, but also enhanced biosecurity. The fact that the CEA FSC program is maintained and enforced by a neutral third party could help consumers feel more comfortable relying on the certification compared to the brand’s own claims about its products. FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET



European Food Safety Authority warns resistance levels still high in foodborne bacteria

New Zealand, Australia to sign off on importation of irradiated fruits, vegetables

EUROPE – A sizeable proportion of Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria is still resistant to antibiotics commonly used in humans and animals. This was evident in the antimicrobial resistance monitoring data collected by European Union member states as part of their regulatory obligations and jointly analyzed by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) with the assistance of external contractors. “In humans, high proportions of resistance to ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic commonly used to treat several types of infections, were reported in a specific Salmonella type known as S. Kentucky (82.1 percent),” the report noted.

OCEANIA – Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) is set to amend the region’s historic stance on irradiation, permitting the import of irradiation treated fresh fruits and vegetables. FSANZ has concluded after a review by the Food Safety NZ, that except for the minimal reduction in nutritional value of products, irradiation is a safe and an effective biosecurity tool.

In recent years, S. Enteritidis resistant to nalidixic acid and/or ciprofloxacin has been increasingly reported in several countries. The increasing occurrence of fluoroquinolone and/or quinolone resistance in these types of Salmonella probably reflects the spread of particularly resistant strains. In Campylobacter, resistance to ciprofloxacin is now so common in most countries that this antimicrobial has limited use in the treatment of Campylobacter infections in humans. Meanwhile, the rate of E. coli bacteria in samples from food-producing animals that respond to all antimicrobials tested was found to have increased.


It believes the changes will help open up export markets, placing Australia and New Zealand in line with other countries. The forum is expected to notify the agency of its view on the change by July 12, after which the rule will be enacted in case of no opposition from the ministers. The irradiation application was made by the Queensland government, which sought the change to allow for any fresh fruit or vegetables to be treated with irradiation to kill pests.

Currently, the treatment can only be used for 26 specified produce items, including imported tomatoes. The latest rule change will allow for any fruit or vegetable to be treated if necessary, including vegetables such as asparagus.





World Animal Protection raises alarm on superbug contamination on meat sold in Kenya’s retail stores

KENYA – Nearly two years after an expose by a Kenyan media outlet on the rampant use of chemicals and preservatives by some butcheries and retailers, to extend the shelf life of meat products, UK-based World Animal Protection has revealed that a significant portion of chicken and pork meat sold in supermarkets is contaminated with bacteria or superbugs. Superbugs are strains of bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi, resistant to most antibiotics and other medications commonly used to treat the infections they cause. The World Animal Protection conducted a study between April and July 2020 that saw a total of 187 pork samples and 206 chicken samples collected from branches of six supermarkets in Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Laikipia, Uasin Gishu and Nyeri. The samples were analyzed for bacterial growth and sensitivity to WHO recognized antibiotics at the Center for Microbiology Research in Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Nairobi. The results showed a high prevalence of bacterial contaminants in pork and chicken with 184 pork samples accounting for 98.4 per cent and 199 chicken meat samples accounting for 96.6 per cent contaminated. 38.5 per cent of the 525 bacterial 12

isolates examined recorded resistance to more than 3 antibiotics. The most common contaminant was E. coli bacteria however known enteric pathogens such as Salmonella and Shigella were also isolated. Interesting to note, the highest contamination was found in retailers own brands compared with cuts from other suppliers. FROM THE SAMPLE 98.4% OF PORK AND 96.6% OF CHICKEN SHOWED HIGH PREVALENCE OF BACTERIAL CONTAMINANTS.

It is against this backdrop that supermarkets owners were urged to ensure they have strong food procurement policies with intent of cutting down the supply of contaminated foods. The report further showed there is a direct correlation between how animals are treated and the quality of the end product. The misuse of antibiotics in the food chain is impacting the public health. The organization called on the industry to improve animal welfare and responsible use of antibiotics urging international organizations, governments and veterinarians to support responsible use with suitable policy and regulation.


Tyson Foods recalls ready-toeat chicken products citing listeria invasion U.S – The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), has announced the recall of nearly 8.5 million pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) chicken products, produced by Tyson Foods Inc., the U.S. leading producer of poultry, due to possible listeria contamination. FSIS had earlier received a notification of listeriosis infection in two people and an investigation identified three listeriosis illnesses, including one death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health agencies collaborated to determine the cause of the contamination. The agency stated that the frozen, fully cooked chicken products were produced

between December 26, 2020 and April 13, 2021. These items were shipped nationwide to retailers and institutions, including hospitals, nursing facilities, restaurants, schools and Department of Defense locations. This is a Class 1 recall, implying there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death. The CDC has revealed that consumption of food contaminated with listeria monocytogenes, can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns. It has further advised consumers and businesses or institutions that may be in possession of these products to throw them away or return them to the store where they were purchased. FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET


Food robotics startup Soft Robotics raises US$10m to propel launch of new solutions U.S – Award-winning food robotics company, Soft Robotics Inc, has raised a US$10m Series B extension, to expand commercial operations to meet COVID-19 pandemic-fueled demand and launch its SoftAI powered robotic solutions. SoftAI technology uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 3D vision to maneuver the company’s mGrip robotic grippers with human-like hand-eye coordination. It also has an IP69K rating which provides protection against entrance of dust and high temperature, high pressure water, making products with this certification ideal for use in conditions where equipment must be carefully sanitized. This extraordinary combination of robotic “hands,” “eyes” and “brains” enables for the first time ever the automation of bulk picking processes e.g. bin picking, in the food supply chain. The round was co-led by Material Impact, Scale Venture Partners, and Calibrate Ventures and brings Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods into the syndicate. ABB Technology Ventures and Tekfen Ventures also participated to complete the round. Soft Robotics’ robotic technology, computer vision and AI platform have the potential to transform the food industry. THIS EXTRAORDINARY COMBINATION OF ROBOTIC “HANDS,” “EYES” AND “BRAINS” ENABLES FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER THE AUTOMATION OF BULK PICKING PROCESSES

Companies in these sectors are briskly adopting SoftAI in their factories to automate picking and sorting of fragile or irregularly-shaped products such as meats, produce, and seasonal items that previously had to be hand-sorted. FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET



Mondelez International employs blockchain technology to enhance food transparency

U.S – Europe’s leading food transparency blockchain developer, Connecting Food, has assisted Mondelez International to launch their first food transparency project in the United States, with the iconic cracker brand Triscuit. Connecting Food offers digital transparency solutions which create value for agri-food players and restore consumer confidence in food. The platform is powered by blockchain, a technology which has enabled the engineering of LiveAudit, a fully digitized auditing module that provides real-time traceability of products and audits their quality, ensuring that every promise made to the consumer is upheld. By scanning the QR code on the Triscuit box, consumers can discover the crackers entire journey from the farm to their home, via a web app using their smartphones. Through the web app’s dynamic map, consumers can view the location of more than 127 farmers who participate in the Unity Gold Farmer Program after specifying the product’s expiry date. Mondelēz recently piloted a similar project in France, using blockchain technology to allow LU biscuit consumers to trace the journey of Harmony wheat from the field to shelf. Used by agri-food businesses across the value chain, Connecting Food’s collaborative business platform creates added value to agricultural data from farm to fork.

Safety SA relaunches occupational health, safety division AssureCloud SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s fastgrowing safety and testing powerhouse, Safety SA, has relaunched its Food and Occupational Health and Safety division under the banner of AssureCloud, to position the business for growth in an increasingly safety focused market. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increased awareness of hygiene, health and safety, the Safety SA group has seen a surge in demand for our laboratory testing and digital services, and as restrictions on movement eased, we are also seeing exponential growth in demand for workplace safety services, testing, technology and consulting,” says Safety SA Group Chief Executive Officer, Pieter Erasmus. AssureCloud is an accredited Inspection Body and acts as a Department of Labor Approved Inspection Authority (AIA), with a presence in South Africa and across Africa. It also has an Occupational Hygiene Testing Laboratory and caters for the entire value chain across audit, inspection, testing, certification and training. The division has grown through acquisitions and strategic development in recent years, to position it as the food safety assurance partner of choice across the southern African food value chain. The new branding, consolidates the acquisitions and gives the testing division a strong identity as it grows into the future. In Kenya, the National Research Fund (NRF) in partnership with Egerton University, have launched a Safe Food Laboratory (SAF-LAB) worth KSH 39 million (US$ 361,000) to bolster production of quality food and economic development. The SAF LAB will serve as a food safety reference laboratory, equipped with modern research facilities aimed at benefiting researchers countrywide. It will boost the horticultural industry in Kenya to meet standards for the export market.





Kenya acclaims cultivation of GM cassava, Nigeria launches GM cowpeas, Burkina Faso approves pearl millet hybrid

AFRICA – Kenya has become the first country globally to give a green light to the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) cassava, developed by the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), capable of resisting the destructive cassava brown streak disease (CBSD). CBSD is a viral disease spread by whiteflies and infected cuttings, which leads to devastating losses of up to 98 percent for cassava farmers in Kenya. It now becomes Africa’s fifth biotech crop approved for open cultivation after cotton, maize, soybean and cowpea. The Kenya National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has approved the application, following a comprehensive safety assessment that revealed the cassava varieties are unlikely to pose any risk to human and animal health or to the environment, when consumed as food or feed or when cultivated in open fields. The effective management of CBSD disease will be of economic and social benefit to the Kenyan population. The consent by the NBA is valid for a period of five years and breaks ground for conducting National Performance Trials (NPTs), which is the conclusive stage for full environmental release and discharge to the market. The NBA board will consider full approval after the NPTs have been concluded. Nigeria has also officially launched 14

and released a genetically modified (GM) cowpea variety, which is resistant to the pod borer pest. The pod borer-resistant (PBR) cowpea popularly known as beans in Nigeria, is resistant to the insect pest Maruca vitrata, which is accountable for up to 80 percent yield losses. PBR cowpea was first released in Nigeria in December 2019 as the SAMPEA 20-T variety. It is the product of an international partnership under the coordination of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) that included scientists from the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Meanwhile, the National Seed Committee of Burkina Faso, has announced the registration of the country’s first pearl millet hybrid in the National Seed Catalog. Commonly known as Nafagnon, the grain is the first single-cross hybrid to be approved in West and Central Africa, and was developed by the International Crops Research Institute for the SemiArid Tropics (ICRISAT), a not-forprofit international agricultural research organization in Niger. The crop is tailored for the region as it possesses ideal characteristics such as being high-yielding, early maturity and resistant to downy mildew.


ARSO unanimously elects Ghana’s Professor Alex Dodoo as president

AFRICA – Professor Alex Dodoo has been elected as president of the 26th General Assembly of the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO). ARSO is Africa’s inter-governmental standards body formed by the then Organization of African Unity (currently the African Union) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Accra, Ghana in 1977. Professor Dodoo succeeded Booto à Ngon Charles who stepped down in June 2022, making him the second Ghanaian to lead the prestigious continental association after Dr Emmanuel K. Marfo, who was ARSO president from 19921994. He emerged as the choice of all the member-states attributed to his vision to rapidly harmonize standards on the continent, while leveraging on the proximity of AfCFTA secretariat being in Accra to further the aims of ARSO. Prof Dodoo expressed gratitude to member-states for the trust and confidence reposed in Ghana and his candidature. “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to serve, having in mind the enormous task of supporting our respective governments in making the AfCFTA a success which is key to the continent post-covid recovery,” the president-elect said. The clinical scientist, who doubles as ARSO’s Goodwill Ambassador to the AfCFTA secretariat, will serve between 2022 and 2025. FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET


Afreximbank to establish quality assurance centers in Africa, boosts food safety compliance NIGERIA – African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade, has commenced the construction of an Africa Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC) in Ogun State, Nigeria. This is the first in a series of Quality Assurance Centers that the bank intends to establish across Africa to support industrialization all through the continent, by ensuring that African products are manufactured to international standards and enabling them to participate in intraAfrican and global trade. This is an important step, not only in underpinning the ‘Made-in-Africa’

brand, but as a driver for greater exports, increased manufacturing and more resilient economies across the continent. It is considered a critical establishment in facilitating trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). “The AQAC in Ogun State will help deliver the highest quality African goods, strengthening their competitiveness and providing confidence to buyers. This is an important step, not only in underpinning the ‘Made-in-Africa’ brand, but as a driver for greater exports, increased manufacturing and more resilient economies across the continent,” Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said. Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspection, and certification, is Afreximbank’s technical partner on the project and will manage and operate the facility. FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET


Rwanda makes it mandatory for grain handlers to set-up aflatoxin testing facilities

RWANDA – The government of Rwanda through the Rwanda Inspectorate Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (RICA), has called for urgent investment in the establishment of proper aflatoxin testing facilities in the country. The organization requires dealers in agriculture products to effectively use the facilities to test for aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxic substance, prior to accepting, storing or even processing these agriculture supplies. The move follows high prevalence of these harmful toxins in some traded agricultural commodities. So far, only major firms in the country such as Africa Improved Foods (AIF) and MINIMEX which process maize, test aflatoxin levels in commodities. Most traders of foods prone to aflatoxin contamination, do not have access to the testing and detecting technologies, creating a gap in food safety regulation, which can lead to consumption of contaminated foods. The prevalence of aflatoxins is increasingly becoming a major concern not only in Rwanda but also within the East African Community. For instance, in February 2021, Kenya suspended maize imports from Uganda and Tanzania over what it described as high levels of aflatoxins that are beyond safety limits, saying that they were not fit for human consumption.


Kenya, Comoros get backing to boost sanitary, phytosanitary standards of fresh produce KENYA – The European Union (EU) has granted Kenya €5 million (US$6 million), to support its horticultural sector achieve sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) as required by the export markets. Under a four-year plan dubbed New Export Trade (NExT), EU aims at increasing the contribution of the horticultural sector to household income. The NExT Kenya programme is in the context of the European Green Deal -a set of policy initiatives that seeks to make Europe climate neutral by 2050. Meanwhile in Comoros, COMESA, Africa’s regional economic organization, has partnered with the European Union THE EU HAS GRANTED KENYA US$6M AND COMOROS US$3.8M FUNDING TO SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF SANITARY AND PHYTOSANITARY SYSTEMS

(EU) to support the development of an efficient national Sanitary and Phytosanitary System (SPS) with €3.2m (US$3.8m) funding. The support has been provided to the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment (INRAPE), through its Adjustment Fund (CAF) under the Regional Integration Support Mechanism (RISM) programme. Its aim is to address the regulatory deficit within the national sanitary and phytosanitary system and further ensure food safety and quality control within the country. In addition, over 35 phytosanitary inspectors have been trained on the islands of Anjouan and Moheli in anticipation of the application of the proposed legislation on foodstuffs and other priority texts related to phytosanitary law.





Kenya’s Kakuzi secures GLOBALG.A. P certification, UCDA, Soy Afric upgrade to new ISO accreditation

KENYA – Kakuzi PLC, a listed Kenyan agricultural company, has received an unconditional renewal of the GLOBALG.A. P (Good Agricultural Practices), which is a globally recognized agricultural food quality certification. As part of the integrated agro-business firm’s quality assurance endeavors, it has been granted the GLOBALG.A.P. version THE CERTIFICATIONS ENABLE PRODUCES ACCESS THE GLOBAL MARKET COURTESY OF A RECOGNIZED MARK OF QUALITY

5.2 certificate subsequent to a recent audit of its production and processing procedures. GLOBALG.A.P is a global organization that sets voluntary standards for the certification of agricultural products around the globe. The certification is widely accepted as the world’s leading standard for safe, sustainable agriculture and is an affordable, holistic approach to producing safe and sustainable fresh agricultural produce. It permits Kakuzi PLC produced avocados to access the global market with a recognized mark of quality issued by a third-party certification body. Meanwhile, the Uganda Coffee 16

Development Authority (UCDA) has announced that it will be transitioning its Coffee Testing Laboratory in Lugogo to the new ISO/IEC 17025: 2017 standard issued by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) under the European Union funded Market Access Upgrade (MARKUP) project for the coffee and cocoa value chain development in Uganda. The International Standard ISO/ IEC17025 is used for the accreditation of competence of testing and calibration laboratories worldwide. ESQ Cert Uganda, an ISO Certification company, was awarded the contract for consultancy services to spearhead the process of accreditation. Soy Afric Limited, an agro-processing plant in Kenya, famous for its toto Afyamix Uji, has also received the ISO/ IEC 17025:2017 accreditation from KENAS for its Interfield Food Testing Laboratories (IFTL), specialized in testing grains, pulses, oil seeds and their derivatives, after only three years of being in operation. Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS) is the sole National Accreditation Body (NAB) mandated to offer accreditation services in Kenya. Furthermore, the company is now ISO 22000: 2018 certified for its food safety management system. This exhibits the plants control of food safety hazards.


Kenya Bureau of Standards introduces new regulations to govern food industry KENYA – Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), the government standards agency, has approved five new standards aimed at boosting the safety and quality of food additives in the market. The adopted guidelines are intended to provide a basis to ascertain the quality, purity, and safety for baker’s yeast, sucralose, aspartame, saccharin and baking powder. The standards are the first in the priority list for food additives based on volume of use both in Kenya and the East Africa region thus facilitating trade. It is expected that the regulations will be used by stakeholders in the food industry including Quality assurance departments, industry and laboratories. Additionally, they will also boost local businesses and the government agenda of increasing manufacturing of local products for economic growth. Recently, the organization announced new COVID-19 hygiene and safety protocols for food business operators, to guide their undertakings as the fight against the pandemic continues. The new standard KNWA 2931:2021 provides guidelines on use of personal protective equipment (PPEs), management of staff sickness at premises and physical distancing to curb the spread of the virus.

In addition, the protocols also stipulate the identification of high touch points and good personnel hygienic practices such as hand washing, use of alcoholbased hand sanitizers and disinfection of work surfaces critical to food business operations. FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET


Global banana production in jeopardy as malignant disease develops resistance against pesticides

GLOBAL – The global banana production is under threat from Black Sigatoka fungus, a banana crop disease that is caused by the leaf fungus Pseudocercospora fijiensis. A recent study by Dutch researchers from Wageningen University & Research (WUR), indicated that the fungus is rapidly developing resistance to pesticides. The researchers have identified the fungus from seven banana-producing countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa, making it a global problem. Cavendish bananas that account for more than 50 percent of world production – and dominate exports (95 percent) – are highly susceptible to Black Sigatoka. The reduced susceptibility of the fungus to fungicides is currently leading to a vicious circle of even more spraying in banana cultivation, which is further driving resistance to these fungicides in the fungus. In most countries, banana production is therefore dependent on continuous intensive disease control with the help of azole fungicides. These azoles are also the cornerstone for the control of fungal diseases of other plants, as well as in animals and humans. Biological control as an alternative to the use of chemicals has been suggested as one of the feasible solutions to the Black sigatoka virus. Fungi of the genus Trichoderma are extensively employed as biological control agents of many plant pathogens and could be useful in the fight against the disease. FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET



Europe poultry exports plummet as region experiences one of the largest Avian Influenza epidemics ever

Zimbabwean livestock farmers benefit from newly launched traceability system powered by Mastercard

EUROPE – Poultry exports from Europe decreased significantly following the February-May 2021 European High Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) season, described as “one of the largest and most devastating HPAI epidemics to ever occur in Europe.” According to statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture, the 2020-2021 HPAI epidemic counts 3,555 detected infections in 27 European countries, including 22 EU member states, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. The epicenter of the HPAI epidemic appears to have been in Germany and Poland, with the former country detecting the largest number of infections in wild birds (603) and the latter the largest number of outbreaks in farm flocks (297). During this period, sixteen different HPAI genotypes were found, indicating a high level of virus reassortment. In economic terms, the impact of this HPAI epidemic on the EU poultry market remained limited, except in Poland, where poultry production in 2021 is forecast to decrease by 12 percent compared to 2020. Nevertheless, EU poultry exports decreased significantly following the HPAI findings as many poultry importing countries banned imports from affected EU Member States. Recent data from Gain showed that chicken meat exports from EU and the UK declined overall by 4.6 percent driven by a 20 percent drop in exports to Ukraine, 32 percent drop to South Africa, 40 percent drop to Vietnam, and a 66 percent drop to China. Poland, the worst affected nation, saw exports to South Africa plunge 92 percent from 79,000 MT in 2019 to less than 5,000 MT in CY 2020 because of the export ban due to the HPAI outbreak. Local consumption also decreased by two percent in CY 2020 as increased chicken meat sales at the retail level did not make up for the losses in the HRI sector.

ZIMBABWE – E-Livestock Global, an American venture capital funded social enterprise, has launched a first-of-its kind livestock traceability system in Zimbabwe, bringing end-to-end visibility to the cattle supply chain. The solution powered by Mastercard’s blockchain-based Provenance solution is aimed to empower Zimbabwean farmers to prove the origin and health records of their cattle, while reducing risks to buyers. A first in the Middle East and Africa, the solution brings new hope to the country’s agricultural sector after an outbreak of tick-borne disease in 2018 led to the death of 50,000 cattle. The lack of a traceability system has seen Zimbabwe unable to export beef to lucrative markets in Europe and the Middle East in recent years, reducing export earnings from beef, which are important to the country’s economy. Commercial farmers and dipping officers tag each head of cattle with a unique, ultra-high frequency RFID tag. Each time the animal gets dipped, vaccinated or receives medical treatment, the tag records the event onto the traceability system. Leveraging Mastercard’s awardwinning Provenance solution, E-Livestock Global records these events to maintain a secure and tamper-proof trail of each animal’s history. This, in turn, supports the entire supply chain with trusted, transparent and verifiable data. For farmers, it provides an irrefutable record that proves ownership, supports sales and exports, as well as allows them to obtain a loan, using their cattle as collateral. For buyers, it enables them to efficiently manage their operations and guarantee product quality to their customers.




Kenyan manufacturers drive food safety agenda by obtaining FSSC 22000 Certification

KENYA – Upfield, the global leader in plant-based nutrition is in high spirits as its Kenyan operations obtained the coveted Food Management System Standard certification, FSSC 22000. The maker of the blue band brand has received the certification indicating that it has implemented the most robust food safety management system while manufacturing and handling the food products. FSSC 22000 focuses on certifying the Food Safety Management System of an organization thereby assuring an end-toend robust management of the systems by defining, evaluating, and controlling food safety hazards, minimizing risks and guaranteeing the production of safe food in the whole supply chain. The certification is based on the widely recognized ISO 22000 for food safety management, industry-relevant pre-requisite programs and FSSC defined requirements which include food defense, food fraud prevention and allergen management, among others. Other than Upfield, Kenyan DPL Festive Bread, one of the leading bakeries in Kenya producing the market dominant Festive brand, has also received the FSSC 22000 from SGS Kenya. The bread maker becomes the first bakery in the East Africa region to receive the stringent food safety standards certification, showcasing its commitment to safe handling of its bakery products. Malbros Group, trading as Mjengo Limited, has also not been left out as it announced that its operations have been certified by Bureau Veritas, receiving the FSSC 22000. The Kenyan diversified food processor focuses on processing of grains, biscuits and snack products. 18


Win for aseptic packaging as Campden BRI, Sterafill develop plasma technology UK – Researchers at Campden BRI, a science and technology British Institute for the food and drink sector and Sterafill, a UK based packaging specialist, have come up with plasma technology capable of cutting packaging pre- and re-sterilization times by up to 93%, compared to traditional methods. Funded by the governmental body, Innovate UK, the project has allowed the teams to develop the world’s first commercial sterilization system using plasma technology. Cold plasma is a novel nonthermal food processing technology that uses energetic, reactive gases to inactivate contaminating microbes on meats, poultry, fruits, and vegetables. This flexible sterilization method uses electricity and a carrier gas, such as air, oxygen, nitrogen, or helium hence PLASMA TECHNOLOGY TAKES UP SIGNIFICANTLY LESS FLOOR SPACE AND ALLOWS MANUFACTURERS TO ADJUST PACKAGING DURING THE RUN WITHOUT COMPROMISING THE ASEPTIC ZONE.

antimicrobial chemical agents that can prove to be hazardous are not required. Plasma technology has a number of advantages over traditional methods in that it takes up significantly less floor space, allows manufacturers to adjust packaging during the run without compromising the aseptic zone and reduces downtime with its rapid re-sterilization process. The results were gained with the technology operating near commercially relevant speeds on a single lane machine. The team’s focus now shifts to scaling up the system to be used on multi-lane setups, making it even more applicable to the industry. The research has opened a gateway on how plasma can be utilized by the food industry to sterilize packaging.



India’s food safety authority issues SOPs for licensing and registration of fortified food products

INDIA – The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued provisions for licensing and registration of fortified food products in its Food Safety and Compliance System. The provisions cover processed food products categories, including milk, edible oil, fortified fruit juices, rice, wheat flour and maida1 (refined flour), fortified cereal products, fortified bakery ware, and salt. As per FSSAI-issued standard operating procedures, food business operators (FBOs) are required to upload test reports showing levels of fortificants in the fortified food product. Results must be obtained from the FSSAI notified National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories against each product for +F endorsement and validate the claim for fortification. Based on the application verified, the designated officer or the registering authority will provide a +F endorsement certificate to the food business operator. FSSAI clarifies that the +F endorsement certificate is valid for as long as the license and the registration certificate are valid, or for the duration the product is licensed and the food product category in the registration certificate is endorsed.


SUPPLIER NEWS Endress+Hauser launches new automation technologies to ensure safety, productivity and flexibility

SWITZERLAND – Endress+Hauser, a global leader in measurement and automation technology for process and laboratory applications, has introduced a new modular flow assembly, enabling measurement of up to six parameters in process and drinking water. The modular Flowfit CYA27 flow assembly provides a flexible basis for the measurement of disinfection parameters such a chlorine, chlorine dioxide, ozone or bromine and further parameters of liquid analysis that go along such as pH or ORP. ENDRESS+HAUSER BAGGED THE 2021 AMA INNOVATIONS AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT WORK IN SENSOR & MEASURING TECHNOLOGY.

The disinfection sensors installed in the new system need a sample flow as low as 5 litres per hour (1.32 gallons per hour) for a reliable measurement, thus only a minimum amount of water goes to waste. In addition, Flowfit CY27 features a status indication light that allows for easy identification of the operating status of the measuring point, enabling operators to know the status at a glance and are able to directly react to potential errors. It can also be connected to the alarm relay of the transmitter to indicate the NAMUR status of the measuring point. Other than the new system, the Endress+Hauser group has stepped up its FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

efforts of being a reliable partner with the launch of the new Cerabar and Deltabar pressure transmitters. Thanks to their Bluetooth interface, they are easier to operate and more efficient to maintain in safety-critical systems. This is reflected in its intuitive operation via the SmartBlue app, which includes guided operating sequences for parameterization and commissioning of the pressure sensor. In addition, a team of developers at the company have this year been awarded the AMA Innovations Award for developing QWX43, an inline fermentation sensor designed for breweries. The AMA Innovation Award has been in existence since the year 2000, presented for outstanding research and development work in sensor and measuring technology. The QWX43 dazzled the experts at AMA Association for Sensors and Measurement with its compact design, high measuring accuracy and easy application as well as uncomplicated installation, commissioning and maintenance. The sensor features highly accurate inline-measuring of relevant parameters like density, viscosity, fermentation grade, residual extract, original extract or alcohol content around the clock, satisfying the continuous monitoring requirements of brewing. Brewers can retrieve measured values at any time using either mobile devices or a computer with internet access.

Neogen Analytics aids food manufacturers hasten datadriven safety and quality USA – Neogen, a leading provider of environmental monitoring solutions for the food and beverage industry, is helping companies reduce risk by increasing access and visibility to food safety testing results. It has availed their Neogen Analytics Environmental monitoring program to qualified food and beverage manufacturers for an entire year, at no cost. The corporation will waive the Neogen Analytics EMP workflow automation module licensing fee for a period of one year, removing the up-front financial uncertainty associated with adopting new technology, such as automating EMP functions. Further it will provide full-service support of the platform to help FSQA teams maximize the value of the platform for their businesses during the waiver period. The Neogen Analytics EMP, powered

by Corvium, facilitates remote tracking of multiple processing plant sites, centralizes environmental testing data, automates reporting for compliance and conformance, and improves food safety and quality for food companies and consumers. Food processors using Neogen Analytics EMP can eliminate timeconsuming and error-prone manual data entry, reducing risks associated with delays or mishandled lab communications. The digital cloud-based platform enables food safety and quality assurance (FSQA) teams gain transparency into company-wide food safety testing metrics in order to instantly address any arising safety or quality issues.



SUPPLIER NEWS Mettler-Toledo launches combination checkweigher metal detector systems to reduce cleaning downtime

JBT to acquire food safety solutions provider Prevenio

US – JBT Corporation, a leading American food processing machinery and airport equipment company, is set to acquire Prevenio, a US-based provider of food safety solutions, in an effort to become the preferred provider of full-line solutions for poultry customers. Prevenio, formerly known as CMS Technology, offers pathogen protection through its anti-microbial delivery solution that enhances food safety and integrity for its clients in the protein and produce markets. The acquisition made at a cost of US$170 million will see JBT enhance its recurring revenue portfolio and further its investment in solutions that support its customers’ daily operations. In 2019, JBT acquired US manufacturer of turnkey primary and SWITZERLAND Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection, a multinational manufacturer of scales and analytical instruments, has unveiled a new Washdown checkweighing and metal detection combination series. The CM33 and CM35 Washdown being launched into the Asia Pacific market is specifically designed for manufacturers of packaged food in harsh production environments, THE HYGIENIC DESIGN OF THE NEW SERIES, FEATURES SLOPED SURFACES TO DISCOURAGE LIQUID AND DEBRIS COLLECTION, AVOIDING BACTERIAL CONTAMINATION RISKS.

including dairy, fish, seafood and meat products. The hygienic design of the new series, features sloped surfaces to discourage liquid and debris collection, avoiding bacterial contamination risks. In addition, conveyor belts can be removed quickly 20

and easily for efficient cleaning. The product inspection series also features an open frame design with only four feet on the floor, which provides easy access for washdown purposes. This helps to reduce the amount of operational downtime to efficiently complete rigorous cleaning regimes. Ingress protection remains a key design factor: the systems are IP69 rated and resistant to most caustic detergents and disinfectants in line with the Ecolab Material Compatibility Test. More time is saved through storing job parameters in the HMI that can be instantly recalled for automatic job set up on both the checkweigher and metal detection system. Up to 250 recipes can be stored in the HMI and additional memory for more recipes can easily be provided when required. While maintaining the highest safety and hygienic standards, the new checkweighers are also built with wellknown precision technology and reliable design


water re-use solutions for the poultry industry, Prime Equipment Group, with an aim of becoming a one-stop shop for poultry customers. Bringing Prevenio on board further enhances JBT’s ability to effectively cater for all the needs of its poultry customers. The transaction is expected to be completed early in the third quarter. Prevenio expects run-rate annual revenue at the end of 2021 of approximately US$50 million.


Corbion upgrades listeria control model to bolster food safety efforts NETHERLANDS – Corbion, a leading food ingredients supplier, has upgraded its Listeria control model to increase the accuracy of food safety measures and enhance speed-to-market for new product developments. Improvements to the newly relaunched CLCM has made the job of identifying the most effective and costefficient Listeria control method very simple. It uses pH, Aw water activity (Aw), salt content and other parameters to determine the optimum antimicrobial to achieve the desired level of Listeria control.

Developers of the enhanced Corbion Listeria Control Model (CLCM) leveraged the company’s 20-plus years research of Listeria in foods to make the new system more robust and easier to understand. “This tool gives our customers a speed-to-market advantage and it’s a tool that gets better with time as we incorporate more real-world data and customer-requested improvements. The latest version of CLCM is more powerful and user-friendly.” says Lonneke van Dijk, director of sustainable food solutions at Corbion. The improved CLCM provides customers with a much better user experience, with improved functionality that delivers even more accurate predictions in products that contain vinegar. It also uses additional data from three more years of validation studies and adds greater robustness to the model. The new CLCM also has a friendlier user interface that allows easy access, even on mobile devices. Modeling results display clearly named prediction lines, such as “typical prediction” and “conservative prediction,” which better describe the likely outcomes for each set of parameters. FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

Shimadzu launches technology with ability to provide accurate remote laboratory analytics

SINGAPORE - Shimadzu, Asia Pacific’s Software Development Centre (SDC) in Singapore, has launched worlds-first comprehensive web-based application which can provide users with accurate and timely laboratory analytics, from a laboratory, at home or from a remote location around the world. The Analytically Intelligent LabSolutions BiX collects data from all kinds of Analytical instruments, processes the data Analytically or logically, and THE ANALYTICALLY INTELLIGENT LABSOLUTIONS BIX PROVIDES DETAILED ANALYTICS ON THE INSTRUMENT AND USER EFFICIENCY IN THE LAB.

showcases the analyzed output into various Analytics dashboard reports. LabSolutions BiX laboratory Business Intelligence application makes informed decisions based on detailed and critical analysis of the productivity and efficiency of all assets in the laboratory, be it instruments or the people operating them. LabSolutions BiX is designed for efficient usage by lab chemists, managers and senior management. Its Brilliant Graphical User Interface (GUI) enriches the total laboratory experience of one and all. It also provides detailed analytics on the instrument and user efficiency in the lab. Its expandable modules and ability to connect to a diverse range of instruments allow the users to spread their Enterprise Digital Footprint.

EPA approves Bio-Rad’s RAPID’E. coli 2 Agar for water testing USA Bio-Rad Laboratories, an American developer and manufacturer of specialized technological products, have announced that its RAPID‘E. coli 2 Agar for water testing has received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for testing drinking and untreated water for E. coli and total coliforms. The solution includes chromogenic medium and a selective supplement that can detect these bacteria without the need for a confirmation step. The Bio-Rad RAPID’E.coli 2 Agar for water testing provides simultaneous enumeration of E. coli and other coliforms, delivering results in less than 24 hours. The bright color utilized in the medium offers strong contrast in helping to identify the presence of target organisms from interfering flora. Standard methods to test water for E. coli and coliforms usually involves a series of complex steps, and the results often lack selectivity, which can be challenging for water testing since interfering flora may be abundant, particularly in nontreated water sources such as spring water and wells. The RAPID’E.coli 2 Agar for water testing aims to offer direct and specific discrimination of E. coli from other coliforms.

The EPA approval offers validation for use of the agar for water testing in U.S. laboratories. The method has also received the NF Validation Certificate, a certification from the AFNOR Groupe designed to validate commercial microbial analysis kits that is recognized in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.



Bureau Veritas invests in new laboratory to facilitate local, regional and export trade As the demand for safe food gathers pace in Eastern Africa, Bureau Veritas, one of the leading providers of testing services for the food and agriculture sector in Eastern Africa, has opened a new laboratory in Mombasa, Kenya with the latest technology to serve the region’s needs. Food Safety Africa had a discussion with Cyprian Kabbis, the company’s District Chief Executive, Eastern Africa and his team about the investment.





By Francis Juma

he demand for testing services for the food and agriculture sector in Africa is on an upward trend, as changing regulatory and market requirements lead firms in the sector to embrace frequent and more planned testing of their products to match these changes. In Eastern Africa, one of the leading players in the provision of testing services for the food and agriculture sector, Bureau Veritas, is priming itself to not only take advantage of this wind of change but to take the leadership role in guiding the industry stakeholders towards a new dawn: a future where food products manufacturers, retailers and those in the hotels, restaurants and catering (HORECA) sector ensure that every food product they produce, sell or serve is tested to assure its safety and quality. Leading the change at the company is Cyprian Kabbis, the District Chief Executive, Eastern Africa, who joined the company early-2020, bringing with him decades of experience in the food and agriculture industry. Cyprian reveals that the company has, over the course of the past year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, invested substantially in boosting the capacity of its laboratory in Mombasa, Kenya, bringing in new equipment and capabilities that will enable the firm to take the lead in the provision on testing of food and agricultural products in the Eastern Africa region. “This expanded laboratory is one of the many facilities that Bureau Veritas has globally. Bureau Veritas is a world leader in testing, inspection and certification, providing services for a wide range of assets and products to various industries. We are currently operating in140 countries, that makes up more than 1,600 locations, including laboratories. In terms of staffing, we are 75,000 staff spread all over the globe. We have developed this specific laboratory in Mombasa to support the Eastern Africa region, which is made up of 8 countries. It has enhanced capability to support the region in the agri-food activities, which entails the whole aspect of food safety testing, soil analysis and any other testing that may be required in the near future,” he informs Food Safety Africa magazine in the interview at their new facility. Located at Shimanzi area, which is one of the most important business and logistics hubs in the region due to its proximity to the

Port of Mombasa, the new laboratory builds upon Bureau Veritas’ experience in the testing of food and agricultural products in Eastern Africa, having opened its first laboratory in 2014. It is part of the Bureau Veritas’ ecosystem of laboratories in Africa, which includes the other establishments in Agadir and Casablanca, (Morocco); Cape Town and Johannesburg (South Africa); Lagos (Nigeria); Douala (Cameroon); Tunis (Tunisia) and Abidjan (Ivory Coast). COVERING EASTERN AFRICA AND BEYOND According to Walter Rono, the Agri, Food & Trade Manager, the laboratory serves a vast geographical area. “With advances in information technology and transportation, we are serving the entire Eastern African region including Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somali, Somaliland, Rwanda, and Burundi. We have also received samples from as far as Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Cameroon.” He adds that the lab generally covers the entire agriculture value chain from farm to fork, including primary production, trading, manufacturing, hospitality and retail. “We cover a wide scope in the region, with some of our customers coming from the dairy, fresh produce, water, beverages, relief agencies, cereals, vegetable oil, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. We also have large retail and hospitality outlets as some of our key customers, with whom we have several frame agreements and service contracts especially on issues such as hand swabbing and microbiological testing, in line with the hygiene regimes that they have deployed. We also offer soil testing services for the agriculture sector and also do packaging material testing.” Walter adds that the tea, coffee and cocoa sector is one of their key areas, especially cocoa from eastern DRC and western Uganda. “We also offer testing services for the aquaculture sector for export and local markets. With the devolution of agriculture in Kenya, we have worked with a number of counties in collaboration with the State Department of Fisheries to build capacity of the sector.” He further elaborates that with the growth of the fast-food sector and the entry of big multinationals, there has been a rise in the companies they are offering testing services



COMPANY PROFILE: BUREAU VERITAS to in the sector, as consumer demand for these foods increases, and the need for food safety in the sector becomes paramount. Some of the company’s clients are research and institutions in the region as well. “Across all these sectors, each has its unique challenges, for example in the aquaculture sector, assessing perishability is key. We therefore have solutions for histamine testing to check on perishability of fish products. In the nuts and grain products category, aflatoxins detection is a major headache that we have solutions for as well.” NEW LABORATORY, NEW CAPABILITIES According to the Region’s CEO, with the new investment, the company is priming itself to meet the changing needs of customers in the region, by introducing new equipment with better technologies. “Traditionally, if we look at many other laboratories that we have in the region, they have been more geared towards basic quality and safety characteristics of food products. What we want to do here is to extend this, so this facility will be doing much more than basic food testing. The high-end equipment that you find here will enable us to deliver new capabilities to our customers, from nutritional analysis to supporting labelling claims to other techniques. We all know that GMO testing is not a very well-established testing solution in this region; we expect to be a centre of excellence in a few years to handle GMO testing in our laboratory. We also hope to work more closely with the government, especially on developing nutritional data for Food Compositions Tables (FCT), not just for Kenya but also for other countries in the region.” According to Edwin Senengo, the Laboratory Manager, the laboratory has two main sections. The Microbiology Laboratory deals with the testing of micro-organisms such as E. coli, Salmonella, Total Plate Count, Yeasts and Moulds etc. in various products such as water and environmental samples, food products, packaging and hygiene samples. The Microbiology Laboratory, Edwin says, is one of the biggest in the Eastern African region. “We also have the Chemistry Laboratory, which is divided into several sub-sections depending on the techniques employed in each of them,” he states. Taking his time to explain to us the various


sub-sections of the Chemistry Laboratory, Edwin informs us that the laboratory has a sample preparation and extraction subsection where samples that have been received are prepared and extracted before proceeding into the subsequent sub-sections for analysis. In the Chromatography room, Bureau Veritas has installed some of the latest equipment such as HPLC-DAD/UV, GC and LC- MSMS to boost their analytical capability in various products. “In the Chromatography room, we test for volatile and non-volatile organic compounds – such as pesticide residues and petroleum hydrocarbons in environmental samples such as soil and water. Other tests in this room include nutritional compounds such as vitamins in animal feed and food products; various mycotoxins, especially Aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, G2 and critically, M1 which is mainly targeted in milk and milk products. We also test fatty acid profiles in vegetable oil samples and other processed food products in this area,” he explains. The Spectroscopy sub-section is where the team carries out macro and micro elemental analysis in foods, water, waste water and soil samples to test for soil fertility. Fortification


The high end equipment will enable us to deliver new capabilities to our customers, from nutritional analysis to supporting labelling claims to other techniques FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

after the installation of the Aquachem Gallery, a new equipment that analyses anions, such as nitrates, fluorides, sulphates, nitrites, ammonia etc. in water, foods and environmental samples.

agents are also tested here. The other sub-section is the Physical Analysis room, where, being an agricultural laboratory, the team carries out physical tests, principally grading, sorting and moisture analysis of cereals, legumes, coffee and cocoa. In the Wet Chemistry Room, which mainly deals with water samples, the team carries out several titrimetric tests. However, Edwin reveals that they will soon do away with some of the wet chemistry techniques

MODERN LAB, WELL TRAINED PEOPLE The modern and well-designed laboratory, which is already ISO/IEC17025 accredited, sits on two floors with the Microbiology Laboratory taking most of the lower ground floor. On the second floor are offices and the Chemistry Laboratory. The laboratory has adequate lighting and ventilation, with adequate facilities that ensure the safety and well-being of the staff. Sample reception into the laboratory is through a staircase that rises into the back of the second floor, after which the samples are received, coded and are then delivered into the respective holding areas; with a separate room for products that require ambient temperatures, and another room that handles those that require refrigeration. Edwin informs us that he is proud of the team of analysts that man each of the sections of the laboratory, with all of them being qualified microbiologists, analytical and industrial chemists or food chemists, who understand the manufacturing as well as quality process parameters in the food and agriculture industry. “Each section of our laboratory has technically competent analysts with the right training in local universities. They also undergo regular, rigorous assessments to establish their levels of competence.” The Laboratory Manager is delighted that the laboratory is ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accredited and is a NEMA designated laboratory for water and effluent testing. “Our customers should trust us since we have a global network and have support globally within the Bureau Veritas Group. We provide a wide range of solutions under one roof for all our customers’ needs. We also offer aftersales support and advisory services. All our equipment are well maintained through a rigorous preventive maintenance schedule and undergo regular calibration. We assure our clients of quality and timely results.” CHALLENGES WITH COVID-19 As the rest of the World was being impacted with the Covid-19 pandemic, Edwin and his team were busy with the contractors to





Food safety has been mainly driven by the requirements in europe but locally, I still think there is an opportunity for different countries to perfect their systems.


build and commission the new laboratory, a daunting task. “Covid-19 brought us unique challenges that we could not have foreseen. The main challenge we faced was that the travel restrictions led to delays in the shipment of the equipment into the country from abroad. Further, once the equipment arrived, we had problems with validation of the methods since we couldn’t easily access certified reference sampling materials, as some of the testing methods we were venturing into are not common in the region.” FUTURE OF THE LAB The regional CEO says that the future of the company in Eastern Africa and its laboratory business is bright and that more investments are on the way to meet emerging demand and customer requirements. “I think that in terms of the future, given that the agriculture is still the cornerstone of our GDP in Africa, there is still need and opportunity for testing laboratories to support the growth of the sector. Obviously, food safety has been mainly driven by the requirements in Europe but locally, I still think that there is an opportunity for different countries to perfect their systems, because the food that we eat locally should not be any different from the food that we export into Europe.


If you take Kenya for example, and you look at the horticultural products, out of the total production, only 5% is exported while the rest of the 95% is consumed locally. Is it safe? Is it nutritious? If you are asking me what I see in the next 5 years, this is what I am talking about - we still have the 95% that need to be supported by this kind of facility,” advises Cyprian. The location of the facility in Mombasa has important benefits, according to Cyprian, and has historical links with the port due to the fact that a lot of the agricultural produce exports from Kenya and the region have been handled through the port for decades and this makes it easy for shipping companies and importers to have their products sampled and the quality checked and verified before they are discharged or offloaded and allowed into the country by regulatory agencies. “However, as we continue to operate this laboratory as central multi-lab, we are looking to support the companies based inland and our vision is to increase our presence more and more inland. So eventually we plan to have other satellite laboratories inland and the model we plan to adopt is to have mobile laboratories inland, especially soil testing labs, which can do testing within the field and the information can be electronically transmitted to our central management platform, using modern technology without the need to have a big laboratory infrastructure in those locations.” “In the future, we are looking at covering a broader scope of testing with the building of this new laboratory. We have seen some new opportunities and demand from the aquaculture sector for new testing areas such as antibiotics, contaminants, mineral oils and polyaromatic hydrocarbons in fish tissues. Meanwhile, we are currently building our capacity to test for histamines in fish products, pending the proficiency testing evaluation,” adds Edwin. “We are also looking at investing in new equipment that will enable us to achieve much lower detection limits for heavy metals such as mercury, lead and arsenic and enable much higher levels of accuracy.” “We are embracing technology by adopting a new LIMS portal where our clients will have access to view the progress of the testing process of their samples – they do not have to call to ask for their report; they just log into the portal, and once the test report has


been uploaded onto the portal, they can print the report from anywhere in the world. This advanced system in information transmission will improve our turnaround time and help customers receive faster service from us. Through this system, we are also working with shippers to have prior testing of their samples to ease the approval process at the port.” Cyprian says that apart from the investments in equipment and other initiatives, they have also launched a new concept for food manufacturing companies in the region which would like to upscale quality control in their in-house laboratories. “We have another solution we have developed; what we call ‘Re-shape your Laboratory.’ Reshape your Laboratory is the solution we are giving to manufacturers who do not want to have extra-staff, extra-cost of consumables to manage their in-house laboratories, so we actually come and manage that for them at a much lower cost- we have experts, and we manage the facility for the customer just as a we manage our own Bureau Veritas laboratory. That way, the client still gets the same kind of experience and quality work that you would get in an advanced lab like this,” he informs us. Further, they will be investing in the company’s staff capability. “I think that people would obviously be one critical area, as we continue to invest in high end equipment. These are not equipment that we readily have expertise to run and when we buy them we also have to upgrade the skills of our people; this is what we are currently doing.” He adds that there is still scope for


further expansion of the laboratory in the near future. “We have already seen the possibility for expansion of this lab in future; the expansion process will continue. This establishment is not just for Kenya but is meant to support the whole region of about 8 countries: from Ethiopia to Uganda to Mozambique and DRC. Our vision is to continue expanding the lab and to use the extra space available within the next couple of years.” The company is also looking at new investments that will reduce the cost of testing. “I think one of the issues has been the cost of testing but again, if you use the traditional equipment, they are quite rudimentary. Obviously, the cost of doing the testing and the time you take to do it is much higher and you won’t be able to do the tests in



a cheaper manner. We are changing that narrative and, in this lab, some of the equipment that we have are actually highly automated, which means that the throughput is much faster. In that sense, we are then able to have much lower prices because of the economies of scale. With this kind of approach and investment thinking, we see that the cost of testing is going to go down and for sure, we should then start to capture the 95% of the local produce that fails to get tested.” FSA JULY/AUGUST 2021 | FOOD SAFETY AFRICA MAGAZINE


Ishida: Protecting reputation on the packing line 28



M By David Mulwa

aintaining brand reputation is vital in competitive markets. It can take years for a food manufacturer to build a brand but just a single quality issue can seriously damage it, particularly if it is related to consumer safety. The financial implications can be immense too – from loss of sales to large retailer fines and the costs and logistics of a product recall, as well as the possibility of legal action. Consumers are also more demanding and less willing to tolerate even the smallest lapse in quality; and the growth of social media has made it far easier for complaints to reach a large audience. This underlines the vital importance of an effective quality control process throughout the factory. However, one of the challenges to achieving this is the increasing automation of the processing and packing operations, which itself is vital to maximise efficiencies and minimise costs. This leaves fewer opportunities for human intervention to spot problems on the line. In terms of preventing foreign bodies in products, the versatility of X-ray inspection systems provides a major advantage through their ability to detect not just metal but also a wide variety of other items that are likely to cause a significant quality issue, such as glass, dense plastic, stone and rubber. X-ray technology is very flexible in its ability to work undeterred in harsh conditions, such as humid and wet environments and extreme hot and cold temperatures. Foreign bodies can be detected through aluminium foil and tins, regardless of the temperature or the salt and water content of the product. X-ray machines can handle a variety of pack formats including top sealed and thermoformed trays and flexible bags as well as unpacked and bulk product. Much of the focus on food quality and safety is aimed at the retail sector, so the priority is the safety of finished packs. The natural inclination is therefore to install an X-ray inspection system at the end of the line to inspect filled and sealed packs. Nevertheless, for some products, quality issues and considerations can be more complex, and this may mean that an X-ray machine will be more effective when placed further upstream. The is particularly true for the packing of certain ‘high risk’ raw materials. Products such as nuts, seeds and pulses, dried fruit and fresh produce, harvested from the ground, have the potential to contain contaminants including stones, grit and broken or littered items. In addition, early inspection allows for traceability, with the possibility to discuss foreign body issues directly

with suppliers. Due diligence obligations can then be met to improve quality and food safety and to ensure preventative measures are put in place at source. Many types of ready meals can also present a challenge for inspection at the final stage. Usually, the product will involve a variety of ingredients and this can make it difficult to spot foreign bodies such as bones in fish fillets or pieces of meat. Earlier inspection of the ingredients will enable such contaminants to be more easily identified and will again minimise the implications of re-work and loss of product and packaging that would occur at a later inspection stage. Nevertheless, one consequence of any earlier bulk inspection of product is that during subsequent processing and packing, there is still the danger that additional foreign bodies could enter the product. This may require a second inspection point once the pack has been fully sealed. Importantly, this will provide a final inspection before packs leave the factory and is usually the preferred option for retailers. The overall size of a product or pack is important in determining the choice of X-ray inspection system. At Ishida, for example, our range of models includes one with a chamber height of up to 390mm, able to handle large size items such as 25kg blocks of cheese or butter. Machines are also available to handle taller pack formats, such as bottles and cartons or crates. As well as foreign bodies, they can check for the correct fill level and that the closure or lid is in place. Different models have different levels of sensitivity. Cost-effective entry level systems, such as our IX-EN range, are able to detect foreign bodies with a reasonably high density. Softer or less dense items like glass or rubbers will require machines with greater sensitivity, such as our IXGN range. Specialist models can detect bones and bone fragments in meat fillets. Ishida X-ray inspection systems incorporate genetic algorithm software that is able to analyse image data over a number of generations to achieve an extremely high level of accuracy. Since many applications will require the detection of similar foreign bodies, the system can be optimised to look for these objects and help to eliminate recurring sources of contamination. Another food safety and quality issue concerns the importance of ensuring the integrity of the final retail pack. Any leaks in sealed packs of meat, poultry or fish can quickly lead to product deterioration but such imperfections cannot usually be detected by the naked eye.




Choosing the most appropriate inspection and quality control equipment is a wise investment that will help ensure that consumer trust and confidence are never compromised 30

To prevent this, seal testers are able to test the integrity of sealed, flow-wrapped or lidded trays in different materials and sizes. Typically, they apply controlled pressure to each pack going across a conveyor in order to detect and evaluate any subsequent ‘give’. A major benefit of the process is that the testing process is very gentle, meaning failed pack contents can be re-packed. In addition, as well as detecting significant leakages, the system can pick up any trends that give an early warning of deterioration in the sealing process. New technologies are also being developed to meet the challenges of other pack formats, such as bags and pouches, which have traditionally been more difficult to monitor. Latest advanced laser technology, such as that used in our Ishida AirScan system, is now able to identify leaks of CO2 from holes as small as 0.25mm in MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packaging) packs in-line and at high speeds (up to 180 ppm), ensuring consistent seal integrity without compromising on throughput. Accurate labelling is also vital as part of a comprehensive quality monitoring process. Vision systems can both ensure that a label is positioned correctly and verify the overprinted data with a


company’s information systems to check that dates, weights, prices and barcodes are present, correct and legible. An important benefit of both X-ray inspection and vision systems is that the results of these quality checks can be archived for evidence in the event of any subsequent problem or complaint. Quality is also about delivering weight consistency. Checkweighers play a crucial role here, ensuring that every pack is within the required legal weight limit. This is again an important factor on automated lines, where there may not be personnel on hand to spot any problems, such as a tear in a pack or problems with a distribution or filling system that can affect a pack’s final weight. As part of this, checkweighers can also be combined and fully integrated with a metal detector. At the same time, however well-designed and integrated an automated line may be, the fact that it is made up of different pieces of equipment means it is unlikely to operate consistently at its peak rate. There will always be slight variations or occasional hold-ups at some point which may affect its overall performance. The ability to spot unplanned downtime and be able to react as quickly as possible therefore becomes the critical factor in delivering FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

the highest level of efficiencies. This is where the checkweigher can make a vital contribution. Many of today’s models have


the software capability to provide a huge amount of valuable information that enables companies to take instant action to improve the performance or efficiency of their lines, so much so that payback on this investment can be extremely fast. Significantly, this data is instantly available and accessible – it does not require the information to be downloaded and then manually assessed in order for a report to be compiled. The information can even be delivered remotely, allowing data to be quickly compiled and compared between different lines, even at different locations. The data can also suggest production improvements. For example, information on overweight products could highlight that a chocolate bar is consistently 2g over the required weight. This may be caused by the enrober putting too much chocolate on each bar. For a ready meal or a bag of mixed nuts, the same overweight each time might identify a particular ingredient that is being added in too high numbers. In this way, the software plays a valuable role in assessing a packing line’s Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) by constantly monitoring it in terms of availability, performance and quality in order to identify potential areas of improvement. Brand reputation is hard won but all-too-easily lost. Choosing the most appropriate inspection and quality control equipment is a wise investment that will help ensure that consumer trust and confidence are never compromised, as well as contributing to enhanced efficiencies throughout the line. FSA

Earlier inspection of ingredients enable contaminants to be easily identified and minimise the implications of re-work, loss of product and packaging that would occur at a later inspection stage.



Automation in the food industry heightens during pandemic, as food and personnel safety receive attention

As manufacturers adjust to new regulations on social distancing measures, machines come to the fore





By Catherine Wanjiku hen you think of modern advances in technology, electric cars, drones and connected devices are likely the first things to come to mind. Yet without fail, the food industry is fast catching up as it transitions to a sustainable and automated future. This has been in pursuit for higher efficiency, time and labour-saving benefits in operations. Just a few years back, the automation trend was majorly adopted by the wellestablished and large food manufacturing outfits who could pump investments in new technologies. However, the winds have quickly changed, as what used to be cutting edge has now become routine in many projects. There is nothing like a pandemic to cause one to rethink their already well setout strategies. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic changed the narrative of business as usual in a flash. Economies across the globe momentarily came to a halt, as protocols such as physical distancing, quarantine and isolation, were initiated to curb the spread of the virus. With minimal interactions, consumers dived into panic buying of essentials goods including processed and packaged foods, which meant stocks were running out quick in the markets. Some leading food industry players like Conagra Brands, Flower Foods, Tyson Foods, Cargill, Tiger Brands and Pioneer Food Cannery, among others, are reported to have shut down some of their facilities momentarily to ensure safety of their workers and the premises in a time characterised with uncertainties. However, in a bid to keep up with the rising consumer demand, the food industry was identified as an essential sector. Further, the Food and Agriculture Organization confirmed that the risk of consumers becoming infected with Covid-19 from food contact materials or food packaging is between ‘negligible’ and ‘very low’, allowing the continuation of food processing industries. But being deemed “essential” did not stop a virus that knows no boundaries from spreading. In an industry that has long-been wedded to manual and labour-


intensive processes, a reduction of the number of workers on the floor was inevitable. In confined spaces, such as packing plants for fruits and vegetables or meat processing facilities, necessary social distancing measures reduce the efficiency of operations. For instance, Tyson Foods, a leading meat processing company in the U.S. restricted its pork processing by nearly 50%, and beef production by about 25% in May 2020. Generally, the global food and beverage industry witnessed a sudden drop in output and earnings in the first two quarters of 2020, as restrictions in number of employees in the facilities was hightened. AUTOMATION GAINS MOMENTUM These challenges brought to the forefront the vital role that automation could play in the food manufacturing industry, as plants sought ways to operate without heavy reliance on manual labour and innovative techniques that workers could use to access processing facilities remotely.

Further complicating matters for the food industry, as the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged the factories, governments’ food safety policies and regulations for food processing became more stringent, coupled with increased consumer demand for safe and consistent food quality. Owing to this, food and beverage sectors have been left with no alternatives but to incorporate food automation


processes to deliver bulk quantity and maintain quality, with limited human resources. To this end, the food automation industry has certainly braced itself for a massive adoption, with a recent report by Meticulous Research, indicating that the food automation market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.5% from 2020 to 2027 to reach US$29.4 billion by 2027, from US$15.5 billion in 2020. “Manual practices have long been a bottleneck to efficiency and precision in decision-making across the food supply chain. But the restrictions COVID-19 has placed on business operations have - through necessity – opened minds around what automation can bring to the table, and how it can free up time to focus on what really matters,” Thomas Slaugh, enterprise solutions business development manager at Proagrica, told

FoodNavigator. INTRICATE TASKS GET AUTOMATED Recent improvements to robotics and sensor data, combined with data processing and the interpretive power of artificial intelligence, have led to smarter, more efficient ways of processing foods across all sectors. Some production functions such as



TRENDS: AUTOMATION packaging have long been heavily automated, with the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies revealing that 94% of food packaging operations are using robotics already. As for food processing, approximately a third of companies are using robotics. Further to that, technological advances have also expanded the horizon of what automation can achieve in other functions, making it possible to automate intricate tasks that once required human operatives. To this end, collaborative or secondary processing operations are starting to be automated such as cutting, counting, mixing, picking & placing, grading & sorting, washing, peeling, dispensing, filling and palletizing, conditions control, among others. This is courtesy of the fact that food processing is highly monotonous and repetitive in nature, making technology development process a no-brainer. And the beauty is that the machines can be customized to a specific task or programmed to have room to re-adjustment when need be. “Before, we saw large stationary machines; now with automation and robotics, we see small, modular machines that do specific processes. This adds versatility as companies can focus on one pain point and use technology to solve an issue,” Miguel Lutz, territory sales manager at Unifiller Systems told Food Navigator. According to Jake Norman, head of sales & innovation at machine supplier OAL, the impact of COVID means manufacturers are now looking at whether automation can be applied to almost ‘any critical activity’ that was previously dependent on human operators. “Any critical activity where manufacturers are reliant on operators alone to complete a task is up for review, as manufacturers have had to cope with reduced headcount either through absences or social distancing to protect those on-site throughout the pandemic,” he says. Other than addressing labour availability concerns, the technological advancements have taken tedious production line





THE PROJECTED MARKET SIZE OF FOOD AUTOMATION IN 2027, GROWING AT A CAGR OF 9.5% FROM US$15.5 BILLION IN 2020. tasks and eliminated the risk of human error, contamination and possible accidents. Automation has also aided in the management of supply chains, enabling companies to determine precisely their raw material requirements or stock inventory, based on supply and demand. MEAT PROCESSING INDUSTRY INCUBATOR FOR AUTOMATION It is evident that robotics and other modes of automation have played a disruptive role in traditional food manufacturing in the recent times. The meat industry, whose floors have been deemed to be conducive for spread of the coronavirus due to the low temperatures maintained in the vicinities, coupled with workers unavoidably working in close proximities, has been at the forefront in adoption of technology during the pandemic period. Tyson, the highest-selling U.S. meat company, expanded its investment in automation solutions, with its team undertaking the development of an automated deboning system, destined to handle roughly 39 million chickens slaughtered, plucked and sliced up each week in its plants. This was an addition to the US$500 million investment the meat processor had channelled towards upscaling. Meanwhile, the company’s venture capital arm recently participated in a US$10 million series B funding extension for Soft Robotics, a provider of artificial intelligence-enabled robotic automation for food processing. The round was coled by Material Impact, Scale Venture Partners and Calibrate Ventures. ABB Technology Ventures and Tekfen Ventures joined Tyson Ventures as additional investors. Soft Robotics’ SoftAI technology uses AI and 3D vision to manoeuvre the company’s mGrip robotic grippers with human-like hand-eye coordination. The technology allows the automation of bulk picking for fragile and irregularly shaped proteins, produce and bakery items. Tyson Foods is an existing user of Soft Robotics’ software. According to reports by Reuters, Pilgrim’s Pride, majorly owned by Brazilian meat giant JBS, is set to invest more than US$100 million in automation over the next year, to include doubling capacity of its Minnesota, US plant, aimed to produce chicken sold in tray packs. “We believe in automation, we believe in robotics, and we’re going to continue to move down that path,” Pilgrim’s Pride CEO Jayson Penn said. “This is something that pre-COVID we’ve been addressing and doing with our facilities, using more automation and more robotics.” Meanwhile, Brazil’s fourth-largest pork processor, Frimesa, has revealed that its new plant under construction in the state FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

of Parana, will include five robots, costing some 500,000 euros (US$586,000) each. They will perform tasks such as cutting open the pig’s chest, eviscerating it and slicing the animal in half. Olymel LP, one of Canada’s biggest pork and poultry processors, had an automation plan before the pandemic forced it to temporarily close a Quebec plant for more than two weeks. It decided then to accelerate the plan, and intends to use robots to sort meat cuts, pick and pack shipments and stack boxes. Lesters Foods, a hot dog processing factory has installed a robotic arm capable of moving packages into larger containers for shipping, allowing workers greater distance from each other. The small private company is investing several million dollars in a five-year plan to boost automation. The African meat industry has also not been left behind, with one of Kenya’s leading meat processor Farmer’s Choice Ltd, partnering with Microsoft to digitize it operations and adopt more sustainable farming practices within its existing agriculture ecosystem to enhance productivity. This is also aimed to ensure food safety, product quality, and reduce waste. The move by the 40-year-old company which includes the adoption of cloud solutions offered by the giant tech firm, gives Farmer’s Choice unmatched visibility over the entire life cycle of meat production, allowing it to respond to supply and demand changes proactively.


OTHER INDUSTRIES CATCH UP By contrast, grain handling and processing has not experienced the same disruptions as the meat processing sector in the last 18 months. This can be attributed to the fact that most of the grain processing tasks have long been automated and less labour intensive. However, the world’s leading plant equipment manufacturer Bühler Group, has continued to push forward the innovation yardstick in the milling industry, with launch of a newrevolutionary grinding solution for milling wheat, durum, rye, barley, corn, and spelt. The new technology is an integrated and self-adjusting grinding system, featuring sensors in the feeding module and the roller pack, to enable greater control of the product flow and grinding process. With the sensors in place, the system is able to automatically adjust to the characteristics of the raw material thus controlling the quality of the product and maintain consistency. In Japan, Satake, has launched a new optical sorter aimed at helping agro-processing companies efficiently sort grains, pulses, seeds and many other products. The new optical sorter features extra wide chutes and flexible configurations, to meet the needs of grain processing companies at different stages of growth. It also detects and distinguishes subtle colour differences by utilizing RGB full colour cameras, in addition to being equipped with shape recognition technology, which conventional colour

sorters could not achieve. Shifting gears to the fruit and vegetable processing sector, the grading, sorting and assembling of the fresh produce has been done, predominantly, manually. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, players have been advocating for adoption of new technologies after the sector was met with the dilemma on how to handle the highly perishable commodities, meet the rising demand, while being understaffed. During a virtual seminar titled, “Reinventing Food Safety and Compliance in Africa post COVID-19”, conducted by the Food Business Africa team, the Exports Manager of Africado Ltd, largescale producers and exporters of avocado from Tanzania, echoed the sentiments saying, “What we need to focus on in the future is coming up with systems that reduce the requirement of human input for it to become a lot easier to manage going forward.“ In this regard, Netherlands based research institute, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, has been undertaking the Autonomous Robots for Agrifood Processes project, for about three years now. Its focus is on developing intelligent robots, that can be programmed on how to perform multiple tasks, from picking and sorting different types of fruits and vegetables, to separating samples of the same type, based on size, shape and other characteristics. The Wageningen robots are equipped with cameras that capture the motions of a human expert performing the tasks. Successful experiments have been carried out for different use cases, including picking and sorting mandarins of variable sizes, separating ripe from unripe bananas, sorting intact and damaged cucumbers, and separating out mixed fruits. The first demo application is expected to be ready by beginning of next year, indicates Fresh Plaza. Looking at how the food manufacturing industry has promptly embraced the new technologies, it is evident that the players have realized the benefits of consistent 24/7 production, reduced cost, increased personnel safety, and overall improved efficiency courtesy of automation. FSA




Ishida is a world leader in the design, manufacture and installation of multihead weighers and quality control solutions Address: Premier Industrial Park, Baba Dogo

Road. P.O Box 538 – 00618, Ruaraka, Nairobi

Telephone: +254 722 951 764 Email Address: david.mulwa@ishidaeurope.


Bruker is a is a manufacturer of scientific instruments for molecular and materials research, as well as for industrial and applied analysis. Address: 731, Ground Flr., Right Wing Jumuia II,

Lenana Road P. O. Box 5835 GPO 00100 Nairobi, Kenya

Telephone: +254 722 910 180 Email Address: christopher.wainaina@bruker. com



Minebea Intec is a leading manufacturer of

industrial weighing and inspection technologies.

Address (Local Agent in Kenya):

Statpack Industries Ltd. P.O. Box 22015 - 00400 Nairobi, Kenya Telephone: +254 20 2515274

Email Address:

Bureau Veritas is a world leader in testing, inspection and certification services.

Address: Delta Corner, Tower A, 5th Floor, Along Waiyaki Way, Westlands. P.O. Box 34378 – 00100, Nairobi, Kenya Telephone: +254 20 366 9000 Email Address: contact.ken@bureauveritas. com



Consumer Goods Council of South Africa is an industry

Ministry of Health, Kenya

provides equitable and affordable health care at the highest affordable standard to all citizens.

Address: Afya House, Cathedral Road, P.O. Box 30016–00100, Nairobi, Kenya. Telephone: +254 20 2717077 Email Address: ps@health.

association that represents Retail and Manufacturing member companies in a sector that is one of the largest sources of employment in South Africa.

Address: 164 Katherine

Street,Pinmill Farm Block D, Sandton, 2146

Telephone: +2711 777 3300 Email Address: info@cgcsa.

Food Science and Technology Platform of Kenya is a registered body

comprising of young professionals working in food and nutrition related industry/institutions.

Address: 9 Planets

Apartments, Saturn #6, Kabarnet Gardens, Off Ngong Road Nairobi, Kenya

Telephone: +254700 073 386

Email Address: fstepk@

Institute of Public Analysis of Nigeria a parastatal of the

Kenya Institute of Food Science & Technology is

Kenya Bureau of Standards is a Statutory organization of government responsible for the adoption and application of standards for both imported and domestically manufactured products in the Kenyan market.

Address: Popo Road, Off Mombasa Road, P.O. Box 54974 - 00200 Nairobi, Kenya. Telephone: + 254 (20) 694 8000

Email Address: info@kebs. org

Federal Ministry of Health, is a professional regulatory body of Public Analysts established by IPAN ACT CAP. I 16 LFN 2004, to train, examine, register Public Analysts and regulate their practice.

Address: 443, Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba, Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria Telephone: 08033274557 Email Address: info@ipan. and


professional body for Food Scientists and Food Technologists to provide them with a forum to discuss topical issues in Food Science and Technology

Address: C/o Department of Food Science, JKUAT P.O. Box 62000 – 00200, Nairobi. Telephone: +254 726 817 629

Email Address: info@kifst.




SPEAKERS Director for Bruker East Africa He is responsible for developing business solutions to the company’s regional business in Eastern, Western and Central Africa

MARGARET KIBOGY – Managing Director, Kenya Dairy Board

DAVID MULWA – Regional Sales MManager, Ishida David Mulwa is the Regional Sales Manager for Ishida. He is responsible for developing business solutions to the company’s regional business in Eastern Africa

JANE MUSINDI – CEO, Society of Crop Agribusiness Advisors of Kenya (SOCAA) 38

JOACHIM WESTERVELD – Executive Chairman, Bio Food Products Joachim is the Executive Chairman of Kenya’s premium dairy products processr, Bio Food Products Ltd

OKISEGERE OJEPAT – CEO, Kenya Fresh Produce Consortium Okisegere Ojepat is the Chief Executive Officer at Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPC Kenya)

CHRIS WAINAINA – Commercial Director, Bruker East Africa Chris Wainaina is the Commercial


CYPRIAN KABBIS – District Chief Executive, Eastern Africa, Bureau Veritas Cyprian Kabbis leads the Bureau Veritas business unit in Eastern Africa. He has over 29 years cross functional experience in Technical and Strategic Business Development within the Testing, Inspection & Certification (TIC) Industry as well as Manufacturing Sectors. He previously held senior managerial roles with SGS, Bridgestone-Firestone E.A Ltd; Bata Shoe Company Ltd and Thika Textile Mills Ltd.

WAMBUI MBARIRE – CEO, Retail Trade Association of Kenya Wambui leads the growth of the fast growing formal retail sector in Kenya. The Retail Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK) is the voice of the FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

retail industry with the main objective being to provide retailers with a central representative body to put across their agenda and retail trade concerns to government agencies, Parliament and other bodies for their benefit.

MaryAnn Kindiki – Manager, National Codex Contact Point, KEBS

personnel, consumers and the general public in showing the critical connection between the welfare of farm animals, their productivity and the quality and safety of food they produce, which ultimately end on the consumers’ plates. Dr. Yamo is a University of Nairobi trained Veterinary Surgeon who also holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from University of Free State (South Africa). He has extensive experience in veterinary services, poultry production systems and agribusiness obtained from working within the regional commercial and NGO sector having held various management positions at Kenchic, Equity Bank, Bedson, Coopers and World Vision International over the past 25 years.

(Insects and Fungus) and Toxins (aflatoxin and other Mycotoxins) in stored grain with application of ozone.

RUSHABH SHAH – Business Development Director, F&S Scientific Rushabh Shah is the Business Development Director at F&S Scientific. He has a multi-sectorial experience in quality, safety and driving efficiency.

MaryAnn is responsible for the Codex Alimentarius Contact point at Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) She has a BSc. and MSc. in Food Science and Nutrition background and is currently undertaking the PhD in Food Science and Nutrition. I am the Manager in charge of the National Codex Contact Point for Kenya at the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

PEER HANSEN – Biochemist, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

DR. VICTOR YAMO – Farming Campaigns Manager, World Animal Protection Dr. Victor Yamo is the Farming Campaigns Manager at World Animal Protection, where he is actively engaging the livestock industry, governments, corporates, technical FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

Peer Hansen is a Biochemist from University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His career spans 30 years of dedication to science and creation of industrial applications based on frontier technology and science. During the past 20 years he has been involved in application of the newest scientific discoveries and industrial solutions in the grain processing industry. He was the first to develop in-bin Moisture Monitoring and in-bin Spoilage detection with CO2 measurements. He has become known for his research into elimination of infestation

JEMI BOYE-OKIT – Global Supplier Quality Project Manager Barry Callebaut UK Jemi Boye-Okit is a seasoned quality and food safety professional with over twenty years of leadership working in manufacturing, sales and quality with multinational companies across the globe. She is a certified Lead Auditor, PCQI and a PRINCE2 Agile ® Practitioner. Jemi Boye-Okit is a Chemical Engineer with an MBA in Finance and a diploma in Quality Management. She is passionate about youth and talent development. In her spare time, Jemi enjoys traveling and trying out new recipes.




PAUL CHALE – Senior Advisor, Technoserve Zambia ROBERT BUCKLEY – Regional Sales Manager, AIB International

DR. PETER KAHENYA – Lecturer, Food Science, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology Dr. Peter Kahenya is a Food Scientist by training and holds a PhD in Food Science and Nutrition (JKUAT), MSc in Food Science and Technology (JKUAT) and BSc in Food Science and Postharvest Technology (JKUAT). He is currently working as a Lecturer in the Department of Food Science and Technology, JKUAT. He has published over ten papers in the area of Food Science and Technology and is currently supervising several PhD and MSc candidates. He is involved in several ongoing collaborative research initiatives in the same field. Further, he has over fifteen years’ experience in corporate level training in the areas of food safety, change management and business improvement. He has consulted widely for different organizations and conducted numerous trainings for these organizations in the areas of product development, quality management systems, food safety management systems and food fortification among others. He has attended various international courses in systems implementation and process improvements. His interests are in Food Processing.


Robert Buckley is AIB International’s Regional Sales Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Rob joined AIB International in November 2019 and has a commercial background within the certification industry, 10 of those within the Food & Beverage sector.

ISAAC MUGENYA – Manager, Testing Services, KEBS, Lake Region, Kenya Isaac Mugenya is in charge of Testing Services for KEBS in the Lake Region that covers Chemistry, Microbiology & Agri-Labs. His work at KEBS since 2004 has provided extensive data that has supported the development of several Kenyan and East African standards as well as guided conformity assessments for imported foods, quality assurance and market surveillance programs that monitor compliance to established product standards. He has many years experience in the areas of mycotoxins, non-nutritive sweeteners, separation science and micro-nutrients. He has a BSc. in Food Science & Technology from JKUAT. Isaac is a member of Chemistry Group of the International Bureau of Weights & Measures and the Consultative Committee of the Amount of Substance: Metrology in Chemistry & Biology – Organic Analysis Working Group


MATTHIAS SCHUTZEBERG – Industry Development Manager Food & Beverage, Endress + Hauser Matthias Schützeberg started his career at Endress+Hauser in 1988 as a Service Engineer. Throughout the years, he held several positions such as a Team Leader of the hydrostatic production to Service Support for Level instruments. In 2004, he moved to Sales as a Marketing Manager of Food & Beverage. In 2008 he changed to the Corporate Marketing department as an Industry Development Manager a position which he still holds today. FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

DOREEN LUGALIA – Managing Consultant, Mantra Consulting Doreen Lugalia is an experienced consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the consumer goods industry, with skills in Food Safety Management System, Quality Management, Quality Assurance, Occupational Health, and Safety Management Systems. She has a Master of Science in Food Science and Technology from University of Nairobi and has worked in the Food Service Industry. She currently consults for TechnoServe’s Food Safety Culture implementation programme and International Finance Corporation (IFC) in their Agribusiness Food Safety Advisory.

GEORGE AKIDA – Exports Manager, Africado Tanzania George Akida is in charge of exports for Tanzania’s No.1 avocado producer, Africado


VERONICA IDOWU ALABA – Director, Vellamet Integrated Services

MATLOU SETATI – Executive: Food Safety – Consumer Goods Council of South Africa Matlou Setati is the Executive heading up the Food Safety Initiative, one of the four divisions of the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa. The FSI is responsible for advocacy and liaison of sustainable initiatives, forums, projects and/or programmes within the precincts of food science, safety, quality, nutrition, health & wellness, regulatory and related matters for the consumer goods and retail industries. Matlou has over 15 years of experience in the South African food and agricultural industry, which includes various food production companies, and 10 years’ service in public office at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

DR. EDITH E. ALAGBE – Researcher/Lecturer, Covenant University, Nigeria Dr. Edith E. Alagbe is currently a Researcher/Lecturer at the Covenant University, Ota, in Nigeria. She is a Chemical Engineer, by profession with research interest in Food processing and preservation, Biomedical Engineering, modeling and simulation of processes and reaction kinetics. She is an ardent street food safety champion, which is a current initiative of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST). She has made various contributions to street food safety, which is an initiative of NIFST in the areas of continuous training on safe food preparation/processing and handling, providing safety kits, liaising with relevant bodies for support and execution of standards. She is a member of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE), Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST).



SPEAKERS Collins Kamol is in charge of food safety and compliance at Kenya’s fast rising retailer Quickmart Supermarkets

KEMA BENEDICTA ASHIBUOGWU (PMJF, NLCF)– Head, QMS – Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate, NAFDAC Kema is the Head of Quality Management Systems at the Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate (FSAN), of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC). A staff of the NAFDAC, the premier regulator of food and drugs in Nigeria, since year 2000. Kema is an internationally certified lead auditor in Food Safety Management Systems, Quality Management Systems. She has core competencies include planning, training, goal setting, mentor-mentee ability, is serviceoriented and energetic manager with a solid history of achievement in humanitarian services, research, survey and administration.

DR. HELLEN ONYEAKA – Lecturer, Food Science, Microbiology & Chem. Engineering, University of Birmingham WALTER RONO – Agri, Food & Trade Manager, Bureau Veritas Walter Rono is in charge of the agriculture, trade and food portfolio at Bureau Veritas in EAst Africa. He is a trained auritor with qualifications in Food Science & Technology

Dr Helen Onyeaka is an Industrial Microbiologist who lectures and leads modules on various postgraduate and undergraduate courses in Food Microbiology, Food Safety and Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, UK. She is currently the program director for Food Safety, Hygiene and Management for the Masters/MSc/PG Diploma/PG Certificate programs. Dr Onyeaka has over 25 years of experience gained in the industry as well as academia (both teaching and research). She leads and delivers training for Continuous Professional Development (CPD), including courses for Food Safety Inspection Officers, the food industry and international trainees from the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.

SOUMEYA LOUCIF – Industry Business Manager, Strategic & Global Key Accounts Manager, Africa – bioMérieux Soumeya Loucif is in charge of bioMerieux’s business development in Africa She has an MSc. in Applied Microbiology, with more than 10 years, working with food companies. COLLINS KAMOL – EHS Manager – Quickmart Supermarkets 42


LAWRENCE ALOO – Chief Biochemist, Food Safety & Nutrition Reference Laboratory, Kenya FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

Lawrence Aloo is the Chief Biochemist at the Ministry of Health’s Food Safety and Nutrition Reference Laboratory at the National Public Health Laboratory, Kenya He is a QMS, ISO & Food safety expert

Andrew Wanga is in charge of quality and food safety at Wrigley Based in Kenya, he is an experienced Quality Assurance Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the consumer goods industry. He is skilled in Food Technology, Quality System, Food Safety, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), and Quality Management. He has a BSc. Food Science and Technology from Egerton University, Kenya. KHALED SHEDEED – Technical Director, Land O’Lakes International Development, Egypt

ALIYU ANGARA – Registrar/CEO, Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (IPAN) Aliyu Angara is the current Registrar/ CEO as well as a fellow of the Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria. He holds a Bachelor of Technology Degree B. Tech. (Hons) in Analytical Chemistry from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi and Master of Science degree in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Abuja. He is a seasoned scientist and has vast scientific and technical experience in the hotel industry. He belongs to a number of professional bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria (ICCON), Chemical Society of Nigeria (CSN) and Nigerian Environmental Society (NES). As the Registrar/CEO of IPAN, he brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to bear by contributing in the attainment of national public health policy.

Khaled Shedeed is the Technical Director & Deputy Chief of Party for the TAIB Project. The Project supports the National Food Safety Authority (NFSA), the nascent regulatory authority in Egypt, with an aim of harmonizing Egyptian food law and regulations and international standards, improve inspection systems, manage outbreaks, conduct science-based risk assessments, monitor Egyptian food safety systems, and reduce food borne illnesses. Kheleed is an expert in quality regulations, quality infrastructure, accreditation, standardization – with more than 22 years’ experience in managing international cooperation projects.

ANDREW WANGA – Quality & Food Safety Manager, Africa, Wrigley


URS DUBENDOFER – Senior Advisor, Grain Milling, Buhler Urs Dübendorfer started his career in Milling in 1984 with an apprenticeship as Miller. He joined Bühler in 1991 as a start-up engineer after graduating as a milling technologist at the Swiss Milling School. In 1992, he was assigned as milling technologist at our Bühler branch in Italy where he focused mainly on durum milling and specific projects until 1998. In 1999, he returned to Uzwil, Switzerland and took over the position as Head of Customer Training Center. In 2006 he was allocated in Bühler’s Business Development in order to expedite innovative solutions. Now, after several years in supporting local sales teams, he is back in R&D, assisting the development of Digital Solutions in Milling.



SPEAKERS income for farmers and reduce food loss. The company is building a sustainable supply chain and offering premium prices for good quality fruit. Molly is in charge of food safety & quality management, research & development and production processes at the company.

WALTER BRUCE OPIYO – Quality Control Manager, Golden Africa

CAROL KEROR – Country SHEQ Manager, CCBA Kenya

Walter Bruce Opiyo is in charge of Quality and Food Safety at edible oils processor, Golden Africa He is a quality control professional with a passion for food safety, with extensive experience in diverse food manufacturing environments under stringent food safety standards. He has working knowledge in regional and international food standards and mandatory requirements. He is a trained Lead Auditor in FSMS 22000 and Internal Auditor for QMS 9001, with excellence in the Quality Module in SAP.

Caroline Keror is in charge of safety, health, environment and quality at Coca Cola Beverages Africa – Kenya She is a food manufacturing sector professional with 18 years experience in production management, production planning and logistics, risk management and SHEQ Management. She has formulated and ensured improvement of robust quality and service management systems and programs that ensure compliance to legal requirements, company requirements and international standards with respect to food safety, quality, occupational safety, health and environment aligned to company strategy.

MERCY CHATYOKA – Business Development & Innovation Lead, Armlead Mercy Chatyoka is an experienced QSHE professional and leader She has more than 10 years of working to implement food safety and other compliance systems in the food industry in Zimbabwe 44

MOLLY ABENDE – Production Manager, Burton & Bamber Co. Ltd Molly Abende is the Production Manager at Burton & Bamber Co. Ltd., the Kenya-based agro-processing company that processes mango and other fruits, with a vision to create


DR. GEORGE OOKO ABONG’ – Senior Lecturer, University of Nairobi Dr. George Ooko Abong’ is a Senior Lecturer & Chairman of the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Nairobi (UoN). He heads all the academic programmes and is in charge of staff and students pursuing Food Science and Technology, Food Nutrition and Dietetics, Food Safety and Quality & Applied Human Nutrition courses at the University. He is also the Chairman of the Food Science & Technology Platform of Kenya (FOSTEP-K).

DR. IFENNA ILECHUKWU – Lecturer, Madonna University, Nigeria FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

the fresh produce industry and is wellversed in the various UK retailers food safety and GAP requirements – Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose among others. He is a qualified M&S Select Growers category 0,1 &2 auditor and is also a trained Lead Auditor in HACCP systems. Good knowledge in the implementation of the Social standards (ETI and Fairtrade ) as well as Flower standards -MPS Gap and ABC.

With his wealth of experience, he covers the food safety-occupational health and safety nexus in great detail

THOMAS OCHIENG’ – Group Quality Assurance Manager – Orbit Products Africa Ltd Thomas Ochieng’ is a quality assurance practitioner with a successful career in research, design, and improvement of up-to-date quality assurance and operations strategies for efficient food and allied chemicals manufacturing industry and related supply chain. He has a track record in establishing, maintaining and improving management systems based on ISO International Standards and is a certified TQM promoter.

FRANK OBURE – General Manager, Packhouses, AAA Growers Frank Obure is in charge of packhouse operations at the leading exporters of premium & prepared vegetables from Kenya and the largest commercial grower and exporter of chillies from Kenya. He has over 11 years experience in FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

MARCO STERZ – Senior Food Fortification Manager, Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe, BASF

CESARE VARALLO – Food Lawyer & Founder Cesare Varallo is a food lawyer based in Italy and founder of Foodlawlatest. com, his independent law firm and food law blog. In addition to labelling compliance services on over 90 countries and food law advice, he regularly provides assistance to clients in relation to crisis management, food safety issues, food fraud investigations and import/ export requirements, in partnerships with technical experts and other international advisors. He is a well recognized speaker and involved in several scientific activities for private companies, public institutions and universities.

MATTHEW NCUBE – Director, Nhlupo Business Optimisation Solutions, South Africa Matthew Ncube is a professional occupational health and safety consultant and business manager with a vast experience in the food and other industrial sectors. He is a passionate advocate for African countries to boost their capacity to meet rising opportunities.

JOHNSON KIRAGU – Regional Program Director, Partners in Food Solutions




India’s technology-driven voluntary Hygiene Rating Scheme for food service establishments gets a great response - FSSAI By Steena Joy In an exclusive interview with World of Hospitality India, Arun Singhal, the CEO, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), elucidates on adapting to food hygiene standards in the New Normal and the future roadmap for FSSAI.


OW HAVE FOOD SAFETY AND HYGIENE STANDARDS CHANGED IN THE NEW NORMAL’? Food safety and hygiene standards are essential in all circumstances to avoid any foodborne illnesses. The prevailing pandemic situation has only increased its scope. Today, we see increased awareness amongst people about food safety and hygiene while, at the same time, the food industry is adopting the best possible practices to ensure food safety, hygiene and safe supply of food items. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has taken the necessary steps to ensure uninterrupted food services/supply and has facilitated the continuity of food business operations during the prevailing Covid-19 outbreak. FSSAI has already reiterated and clarified that import clearances of food items and testing services by FSSAI’s notified laboratories (including both public and private laboratories) are Essential Services. 46


For the rapid expansion of logistic supply chains, catering, warehouses, retail outlets and food service establishments, we have laid down directions permitting the Food Business Operators other than manufacturers to temporarily run/manage their businesses based on a valid receipt of FSSAI license/ registration application. On the other hand, manufacturers are allowed to increase/ enhance their capacity, on the basis of a valid receipt of FSSAI license/ registration application to enable immediate scaling up of production facilities without waiting for state regulatory approvals. It has also been directed that all routine inspections can be done online except in case of high risk food products viz. Milk and milk products, slaughter houses, meat and meat products etc. However, food safety authorities can conduct inspections in case of select cases on the basis of risk profiling or in case of any food emergency/ incidents and complaints. Wherever possible, inspections can be done by e-inspection. These measures are FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

applicable till 30.06.2021 and shall cease after 30.06.2021 irrespective of the status of lockdown/ curfew/ containment at any location. FSSAI has written to all the states to ensure that there is no interruption of food supply chains during this period and also the regulatory compliance requirements are not an impediment for smoother operations of food businesses. FSSAI, through its flagship training programme FOSTAC, is providing trainings to food business operators on Covid appropriate practices in food industry. Till date more than two lakh sixty seven thousand eight hundred ninety four ((267,894) ) food handlers have been trained and certified for Covid-19 training sessions. The initiative needs to be promoted to ensure Covid appropriate behaviour in the food industry so as to maintain food safety and hygiene protocols during this pandemic period. WHAT HAS BEEN THE RESPONSE TO FSSAI’S SCHEME TO APPROVE HYGIENE RATING AGENCIES? Hygiene Rating is a voluntary scheme meant for food service establishments and we have been getting great response from them so far. It is a technologydriven, user-friendly scheme where food establishments are given a rating on a scale of 1-5, where 5 indicates Excellent compliance and 1 indicates poor compliance of food hygiene and safety standards. Ratings are displayed in the form of symbols i.e. Smileys. This scheme encourages food businesses to ensure high standards of hygiene and sanitation and allows consumers to make informed food choices. This scheme is currently applicable to restaurants, cafes, bistros, fine diners and other eating-places, sweet shops, bakeries and meat shops. It will benefit everyone as a whole because improved hygiene standards mean fewer instances of food-borne illnesses. It is the prerogative of the consumer to demand safe and hygienic food. With this certificate, consumers can do a quick check of hygiene rating when they visit any restaurants and encourage them to



apply for the same if the food service establishment is not aware of hygiene rating scheme. This will truly impact the dining out experience for customers. We are also collaborating with our State Food Safety departments to initiate the drives on this program at their level and so far, over 1,800 food service establishments have applied for this certification voluntarily. Media being so powerful should write more about this wonderful scheme to spread awareness amongst the food service establishments as well as consumers. I am confident that this will grow multi-fold as we move forward and the situation improves. HOW DOES FSSAI COLLABORATE WITH THE QUALITY COUNCIL OF INDIA? WHAT ARE THE SYNERGIES? FSSAI believes that food safety is a shared responsibility. We have been continuously engaging with different stakeholders to bring synergies across initiatives. Through our collaboration with Quality Council of India (QCI), we are significantly improving the ecosystem of third party auditors for conducting hygiene rating audits. QCI has come out with a Scheme for approval of Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies to scale up Hygiene Rating by increasing the number of recognised Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies in the country under their ambit. The recognised Hygiene Rating Audit Agency will verify the compliance by the FBOs with food hygiene and safety procedures laid by FSSAI. Details of the scheme is available on QCI’s website. WHAT IS THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE ROADMAP FOR FSSAI? • Our clear objective is to ensure that citizens have access to safe and wholesome food. In order to achieve this, we are working towards various regulatory

reforms for enhancing efficiency and the ‘Ease of doing Business’ for the Food Business Operators (FBOs). • IT enabled resources are being used for improvement of our existing portals of licensing & registration, food imports and laboratories’ network along with better delivery of various e-services including e-applications and e-inspections, thus enhancing the range of e-governance. • We are institutionalising and upgrading the scope of market surveillance to identify hot-spot areas of adulteration and conduct national-level surveys for milk, vegetable oils and other high risk commodities. • Another core area of focus is improving the infrastructure and capacity of food testing laboratories and development of new National Food Laboratories (NFLs) at Chennai/ Mumbai. • We are actively investing our efforts around training and capacity building for Food Safety Officers (FSOs) and field staff as well as increasing the manpower at FSSAI headquarters and across regional offices. We are also strengthening our Food Import Clearance System in order to ensure that only quality products, compliant with our standards are imported into the country. • Through the ‘Eat Right India’ campaign, launched in 2018, FSSAI will continue to ensure provision of safe food and healthy diets to the consumers. Initiatives such as ‘Eat Right Campus’ for consumers in workplaces, institutions, hospitals, jails and tea estates; ‘Eat Right School’ for school children and the ‘Eat Right Toolkit’ for front-line health workers to reach people at the grassroot level have been institutional for influencing behaviour of people. • Recently launched ‘Eat Smart Cities Challenge’ is galvanising a large number of stakeholders from over 100 smart cities. As we move forward, we plan to expand the reach of these initiatives in different parts of the country and (transform/ enhance) people’s behaviour towards right eating habits. Courtesy:



FDA’s report highlights unsafe practices for retail deli departments 48




By Catherine Odhiambo study by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified improper holding time/temperature, poor personal hygiene, contaminated equipment, inadequate cooking and unsafe sources of food as the risk factors in retail food store deli departments in the United States. The study was conducted to investigate the relationship between Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS), Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) and the occurrence of risk factors and food safety behaviors/practices commonly associated with foodborne illness in the United States in retail food store deli departments (delis) from 2015-2016. The report indicated that the two most commonly occurring out-of-compliance risk factors in delis in the country were improper holding time/temperature (91.2%) and poor personal hygiene (71.5%). The FDA notes time/temperature control for safety (TCS) foods should be held under refrigeration at or below 41°F (5°C) to limit the growth of pathogens that may be present in the food. Poor personal hygiene, which involves handwashing by employees, includes knowing both when to wash and how to wash properly. This is critical in reducing the spread of pathogens from employees’ hands to food, food contact surfaces, and equipment that lead to cross-contamination. Of the foodborne illness risk factors investigated in this study, inadequate cooking was best controlled. Delis were found to thrive in cooking raw-animal derived foods, such as meat, poultry and eggs, to the requisite temperatures. FUNCTIONAL FSMS CRITICAL The study found that the presence of a functional Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) was the strongest predictor of the compliance status in the sector, hence a promising tool in reducing foodborne illness risk factors. It noted that establishments with well-developed FSMS had significantly fewer out-of-compliance food safety practices than did those with less developed food safety management systems, resulting in a reduced occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors in those outlets. FSMS refers to a specific set of actions used by food service establishments to help achieve Active Managerial Control (AMC). While FSMS may vary across the retail and food service industry, the consistent components include the purposeful implementation of procedures, training, and monitoring. For the improper holding time/temperature risk factor, FSMS had the strongest impact on date marking and disposition, which is one of the primary controls in the FDA Food Code for growth of Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria), a pathogen of major concern in delis. Approximately 32% of delis had well-developed or well-developed and documented FSMS. The National Retail Risk Factor Study categorized FSMS into four categories; non-existent, underdeveloped, well-developed, and well developed and documented. Well-developed and documented systems have the greatest impact on compliance and are vital to success as they are complete, consistent, and primarily written. These findings denote that well-developed


and documented FSMS are an expedient tool in plummeting the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors. Analysis of the study data showed that deli departments had the best control over ensuring no bare-hand contact with readyto-eat foods. LEADERSHIP ROLE According to the FDA, either the presence of a Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) or the multiple-unit status of establishments were significant predictors of having out-ofcompliance data items when all factors studied were taken into account. Delis with a CFPM present had fewer primary data items out of compliance than those without a CFPM. The restaurants that had a CFPM who was the person in charge at the time of data collection, had significantly better food safety management scores than those that did not have a CFPM present or employed.

A CFPM is an individual who has shown proficiency in food safety information by passing a test that is part of an accredited program. STUDY HISTORY In 1998, the FDA National Retail Food Team initiated a threephase, 10-year study to measure the occurrence of practices and behaviors commonly identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as contributing factors in foodborne illness outbreaks.



REPORT: DELIS TABLE 1 Foodborne illness risk factor

Associated primary data item numbers and description

Poor personal Hygiene

#1 - Employees practice proper handwashing. #2 - Employees do not contact ready-toeat food with bare hands. #3 - Food is protected from cross-contamination during storage, preparation and display. #4 - Food contact surfaces are properly cleaned and sanitized.

Contaminated Equipment/Protection from contamination

Improper holding time/ temperature

#5 - Foods requiring refrigeration are held at the proper temperature. #6 - Foods displayed or stored hot are held at the proper temperature. #7 - Foods are cooled properly. #8 - Refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods are properly date marked and discarded within 7 days of preparation or opening.

Inadequate cooking

#9 - Raw animal foods are cooked to required temperatures. #10 - Cooked foods are reheated to required temperatures.

TABLE 2 Characteristics

Number of Delis (N= 397)


Certified Food Protection Manager None



Employed but not present



Employed and Present



Person in charge



Food Safety Management System Nonexistent









Well-developed and documented



Risk category 2



Risk category 3



Risk category 4



Risk categorization

Multiple- Unit Yes








In 2013, the team commenced a new, 10-year study to measure the occurrence of practices and behaviors commonly identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as contributing factors in foodborne illness outbreaks. Initial data collections began in 2013 for select restaurant facility types, followed by data collection for select institutional foodservice facility types in 2014 and select retail food store facility types in 2015.

TABLE 3 Risk Factors Out-of-Compliance Foodborne illness Risk Factor

Delis out of compliance (OUT)

Total Observations (IN $ OUT)


Poor personal hygiene




Contaminated equipment




Improper holding time/ temperature




Inadequate cooking




The results of the initial data collection for each of the facility types will serve as the baseline measurement from which trends will be analyzed. Two additional data collection periods for each of the facility types are planned at 3-year intervals after the initial data collection for the purposes of analyzing trends. As part of the ten-year study, data was collected from 20152016 on the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors and food safety behaviors in retail food store delis. The data will be FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

TABLE 4 Total Number and percentage of Delis Out-of-Compliance for each Data Item Data Item


Delis (#OUT)

Total Observations (IN & OUT)



Employees practice proper handwashing





Employees do not contact ready-to-eat foods with bare hands 22




Food is protected from cross contamination during storage preparation and display





Food contact surfaces are properly cleaned and sanitized





Foods requiring refrigeration are held at proper temperatures





Foods displayed or stored hot are held at proper temperature





Foods are cooled properly





Refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods are properly date marked and discarded within 7 days of preparation or opening





Raw animal foods are cooked to required temperatures





Cooked foods are reheated to required temperatures.




FOODBORNE DISEASES CAUSE APPROXIMATELY 48 MILLION ILLNESSES, 128,000 HOSPITALIZATIONS, AND 3,000 DEATHS EACH YEAR. used as baseline measurement upon which to assess trends in the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors in retail food store delis over the ten-year period of 2013-2023. FOODBORNE ILLNESSES STATISTICS Foodborne diseases cause approximately 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths each year. The annual economic burden from health losses due to foodborne illness is estimated at US$ 77.7 billion. Food safety practices in retail food establishments continue to play a critical role in preventing foodborne illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates Listeria as the 3rd leading cause of death from foodborne illness with about 1,600 infections, 1500 hospitalizations and 260 deaths. The most vulnerable people include pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and those with weakened immune systems. Listeria is pervasive in the environment and can be found in moist environments, soil and decaying vegetation. It is persistent in retail food environments and can grow in refrigeration temperatures below 1°C (33.8°F), which brands this organism as a menace for the food industry. This makes date marking and disposition the primary prevention factor for Listeria in the retail environment. The Food Code stipulates that ready-to-eat TCS food, prepared in a food establishment and held longer than a 24-hour


period, should be marked to indicate the date or day by which the food is to be consumed on the premises, sold, or discarded when held at a temperature of 5°C (41°F) or less for a maximum of 7 days. According to the CDC, when considering incidents in 2015 and 2016, retail food stores accounted for 23 outbreaks (3%), and 15 outbreaks (2%), respectively, and 572 illnesses (5%), and 239 illnesses (2%), respectively. Studies such as this serve as a source of information to aid decision makers in taking steps that will diminish the occurrence of risk factors responsible for causing foodborne illness. This study will also help inform the FDA’s upcoming activities on modernizing traditional retail food safety approaches. The FDA is exploring ways to further modernize and help ensure the safety of foods sold at restaurants and other retail establishments as part of their work on the New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative. The New Era blueprint outlines goals that include strengthening food safety protections, through the use of FSMS and risk‑based inspectional approaches, as well as exploring the use of new digital tools and smart kitchen equipment that could help minimize risks. These outcomes also help the FDA prioritize development of educational resources to inform, engage, and empower local retail food industry, state, local, territorial, and tribal authorities, and other government agencies. The regulator will continue to collect data on the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors and use the results to aid decision makers in minimizing the occurrence of risk factors responsible for causing foodborne illness. Retail food establishments should take action to develop, implement, and strengthen their procedures, training, and monitoring within their establishment to create well-developed and documented FSMS. FSA




IAEA and FAO Help Burkina Faso and Algeria to Enhance Food Safety


he IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) cooperate in supporting food safety and food quality programmes around the world to address food hazards, food fraud and advise countries on food irradiation. Among the beneficiaries of this programme have been Burkina Faso and Algeria. To celebrate World Food Safety Day, we draw attention to the importance of nuclear techniques in monitoring food safety. “Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow” – this year’s theme – recognizes how safe food contributes to a healthy life, economy, planet and future. ENHANCED FOOD SAFETY CAPABILITIES IN BURKINA FASO Tiny but oil- and vitamin-rich sesame seeds have become a staple of Burkina Faso’s economy – creating jobs and generating income. After cotton, the edible seeds that grow in pods have become the West African country’s second most exported agricultural product. This sprouting success in the last decade has been sustained with the help of Burkina Faso’s National Public Health Laboratory (LNSP), supported by the IAEA and FAO, through their Joint Centre on Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. 52


The key mission of the LNSP, founded in 1999, is to ensure the safety and quality of both imported and exported food. Strict regulations on pesticide residues apply on sesame exports, and, in recent years, the laboratory has played an important role to ensure that the country’s exports meet food safety and quality standards. From 2010 to 2016 alone, sesame exports represented about 47 per cent of agricultural product exports. Total exports increased from 20,600 tonnes in 2007 to 160,000 tonnes in 2016 and up to 183,786 tonnes in 2018, with export earnings topping US$170 million. BURKINA FASO’S SESAME EXPORTS HAVE BEEN RAPIDY INCREASING FROM 20,600 TONNES IN 2007 TO 183,786 TONNES IN 2018 DUE TO RISE IN SAFETY AND QUALITY CONTROL BY LNSP. “LNSP has contributed to this performance by conducting the safety and quality control of sesame seeds, and this has also been possible with the support provided by the IAEA, in collaboration with FAO,” said Bernadette P. Sourabie, Director of Technical Coordination and Quality Management at LNSP. However, FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET


attaining accreditation according to ISO 17025:2017 and to enhance international recognition. We are counting on the IAEA for the necessary support, complementing Government and institutional commitment. We are grateful for the support that is being provided through several proficiency/ interlaboratory testing schemes in this initiative.”

the lab needed to further improve its analytical capacity so that rapid and costeffective screening capabilities could be applied to a wider range of chemical hazards in food. Since 2018, the IAEA – through its technical cooperation programme – has provided additional analytical equipment, including a radio receptor assay instrument and trained a pool of analysts in the testing of three groups of chemical hazards: mycotoxins, pesticide residues and veterinary drug residues in food products of animal and plant origin. Analytical method protocols have also been provided to enhance the testing programme. Mycotoxin contamination in cereals/grains and livestock products is a common challenge to food safety. FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

Mycotoxins could create serious health risks in human and animal species and, subsequently, hinder trade. The IAEA and FAO have assisted LNSP in the setup of a mycotoxin analytical laboratory and the training of its staff. Thousands of food samples are analysed each year by LNSP local experts for mycotoxins. “This mycotoxin-analytical capacity at LNSP has thus contributed to protect public health through the systematic control of imported food, as well as exports. The mycotoxin laboratory also serves as a platform for training students from public and private universities in Burkina Faso and in the subregion,” said Fulbert Nikiema, Director of Food Control and Applied Nutrition at LNSP. Sourabie added that “LNSP is looking towards addressing the challenge of

ENHANCING FOOD SAFETY ANALYTICAL CAPABILITIES IN ALGERIA Laboratories in Algeria have received the support to enhance their analytical capabilities for the detection of chemical hazards, including antimicrobial and pesticide residues in a range of food, from poultry and eggs to dates and honey. Algeria was the world’s sixth leading exporter of dates, worth approximately US $129 million in 2020. Through the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme and in partnership with FAO, staff of the Algerian National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRAA) and the National Institute of Veterinary Medicine (INMV) have been trained in methods of analysis and supported with the required analytical equipment. These institutions are now equipped to contribute towards consumer protection and the trade of agricultural products. Food safety certification and regular laboratory testing for contaminants can boost market and consumer confidence. “With the enhanced laboratory capabilities, efforts are ongoing to establish public and private partnerships to better serve end users, such as beekeepers and honey producers; technical and research institutions; as well as universities, among others. This will improve the local honey supply chain,” said Mounira Azouz, Research Scientist at INRAA.




Flattening the curve on foodborne illness and its costs in Africa


By Steven Jaffee and Delia Grace

ood safety has never featured prominently on Africa’s development agenda. When it is an issue, typically the focus has been on high-value food items produced for export, while food safety in domestic markets has been largely neglected, both by governments and development partners. This must change. Recent research has shown that the health and economic consequences of foodborne diseases in Africa are significant and growing, as urbanization and income growth prompt dietary changes that increasingly expose consumers to food safety hazards. The coming decade is critical. A “business as usual” approach to food safety, involving a combination of post-outbreak firefighting and fragmented regulatory and ad-hoc interventions, will do little to check the threats posed by unsafe food in many African countries. The good news is that many of these problems can be controlled and their costs reduced. A combination of incremental and systematic measures, well within the capacity of most governments, can flatten the curve of foodborne illness. Until recently, research on foodborne diseases (FBDs) was mostly limited to high-income countries. Research and public health interventions in poorer countries largely focused on the so-called big three—tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria—and



on maternal and child mortality. Yet, recent epidemiological research from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows the costs of neglecting FBDs in developing countries. Worldwide, the global health burden of FBDs is on par with the big three. The young, old, malnourished and poor are disproportionately impacted, and children under 5 are especially vulnerable. Globally, Africa south of the Sahara and emerging Asia have the highest incidence of, and death rates from, FBDs. Yet while the two regions’ incidence rates are comparable, Africa’s estimated death rate is nearly four times higher. The reasons for that difference are not fully understood, but the prevalence of endemic ailments and poor diagnostic and treatment options probably account for much of it. Drawing on WHO data and other recent sources, we estimate that Africa experiences around 135 million cases of FBD and 180,000 FBD-related deaths per year. Microbial pathogens— especially Salmonella spp., toxigenic Escherichia coli, norovirus, and Campylobacter spp.—account for about 80% of Africa’s FBD burden. The economic consequences of FBDs in Africa are correspondingly severe. A recent World Bank study estimated the productivity losses alone attributed to unsafe food within Africa at $20 billion in FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

2016, and the cost of treating these illnesses at an additional $3.5 billion. These costs are heaviest in larger, middleincome countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt, yet are also significant elsewhere. Overall, the relative economic burden of FBD is higher for African countries than for developing countries elsewhere. Both the health and economic consequences of FBDs in Africa are likely to grow as the continent develops. In low-income countries, food is typically produced close to the point of consumption and undergoes limited transformation. Starchy staples such as cassava, maize and rice predominate. Traditional processing techniques dominate and are often fairly effective at reducing risk. As they develop and urbanize, countries experience rapid shifts in diet and towards more intensified agriculture. Such transitions typically lead to increased consumption of fresh produce and animal-sourced foods, and a lengthening of food supply chains. Yet much of this perishable food continues to be handled and distributed through informal channels, creating potentially multiple points for food hazards to develop. In these transitioning food systems, the official regulatory apparatus is often overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of emerging challenges.



Until very recently, domestic food safety programs in Africa have been few and poorly funded. By contrast, literally hundreds of projects supported by trade partners or development agencies have sought to address international traderelated food safety problems. These have been beneficial and have helped to push Africa’s trade in safety-sensitive foods such as fish, fresh fruit, and vegetables from $3.8 billion in 2001 to $16.1 billion


in 2017. But overall, the available evidence suggests that the trade-related costs associated with unsafe food in African countries are small compared to the domestic public health costs and productivity losses. In fact, we estimate the ratio between domestic and traderelated costs is likely to be on the order of 40 to 1, suggesting that the predominant attention of policy makers on the trade impacts of food safety has been deeply misguided. African countries must implement better domestic food safety policies and support them with needed investment. But this, in itself, will not be enough to give them the upper hand against FBDs. What they need is nothing less than food safety paradigm shift. The traditional regulatory model, imported from high-income countries, centers on enforcement through regular inspection of food facilities and product testing, with set legal and financial penalties. This model is ill-suited to food systems in Africa, where smallholder farmers, micro- and small enterprises, and informal food channels predominate, surveillance and inspection mechanisms can be weak, and court procedures challenging and slow. It introduces an antagonistic and often unproductive relationship between government and the private sector as regulator vs. regulated. A better approach is to think of food safety as a shared responsibility between food business operators, consumers, and the government. In this model, governments set forth a vision, convene stakeholders and offer a diverse set of

policy instruments to involve, incentivize, and leverage the actions of key value chain actors. Instead of being the “official food control” authority, governments should act as facilitators encouraging investments and behavior change. Experimentation and flexibility will be critical. There are no quick fixes to Africa’s food safety challenges. They require a comprehensive approach that focuses on improving food safety awareness, practices, and governance. Foundational investments will be needed in people, infrastructure, and institutions. Addressing these issues will require sustained attention from technical agencies and government ministries as well as donors. It will require broader interventions to improve access to quality public health services, clean water and sanitation, and improved agricultural productivity. It will require, in short, a commitment commensurate to the scale of the problem. It is also likely, as in other parts of the world, that improvements will ultimately be driven by better-aware consumers demanding food safety and eliciting responses from public sector and food suppliers. Recognizing that is a good place to start. Steven Jaffee is a Lecturer in the University of Maryland Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics; Delia Grace is a Professor at the Natural Resources Institute (UK) and Scientist with the International Livestock Research Institute (Kenya). Source: IFPRI.ORG




More data can bolster food safety, says FDA leadership By Megan Poinski, Senior Reporter, Food Dive

At a webinar, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas said upgrading digital information systems can do the most to protect consumers and strengthen the industry.


he food system is on the cusp of a dual revolution, said Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response with the Food and Drug Administration. One side of that revolution is the way that food is made, as plant-based, cell-based, gene-edited and newly sustainable processes are coming into play. The other side, he told participants in a Wednesday webinar put on by the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, is changing the way regulators and food companies use data to ensure food safety. “We believe that we’re living in a new day of data,” Yiannas said. “And with better data, we can further modernize how we do exceptional compliance oversight. Let me be clear: This is not about doing less of things. ...But it is about using the right data insights, identifying the right attributes of the establishments that you regulate.” Yiannas, as well as Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and Steven Solomon, director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine, spoke about their priorities — especially as they relate to the fiscal year 2022 budget proposal. The proposed departmental budget for all functions — including food, drugs, medical devices and public health



initiatives — is US$6.5 billion, an increase of US$477 million over current fiscal year funding levels. Food programs would get US$1.2 billion of this, with food safety making up US$82.5 million. A large chunk would go to funding the New Era of Smarter Food Safety program, which is a 10-year blueprint to use technology to build upon food safety methods. The budget would put US$44.8 million toward this program, about half of which would come out of the data monetization and tech portion of FDA’s budget. Technology-enabled traceability will help significantly increase food safety, though Yiannas said this initiative is not about any one sort of technology system, like blockchain. What is important is the goal of using interconnected digital systems to collect and analyze data to keep the food system safer and pinpoint any problems more quickly. Digital traceability systems — blockchain and the like — would receive $6.1 million, Yiannas said. He believes a lack of better digital traceability is a key weakness in the food safety system right now. Many of the biggest recent outbreaks, including those from romaine lettuce and red onions, took time to pinpoint because traceability systems aren’t stronger. “Traceability to me is not a reactive tool simply trying to FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

respond to outbreaks quicker,” Yiannas said. “...But it is about providing a new level of transparency in the food system, [and it] can be a game changer in terms of influencing behaviors and understanding how changes need to be made to strengthen prevention.” Better digital traceability data also means there’s more information that machine learning systems can use to make predictions about what may happen. Yiannas said FDA is not looking to do less regulating or be more hands-off, but an ideal system could show the department where and when specific problems might occur. He said the department built a pilot system, which is working well. But the paradigm of how people get food is rapidly changing, Yiannas said, and so food safety inspections need to change with it. During the pandemic, millions of people ordered food, either from grocery pick-up and delivery services or from manufacturers themselves. Because of this shift, Yiannas said, “the world is becoming the grocery store,” and there is a new set of food safety protocols that need to be designed and met. If there is more data collected and put into a central system, it’s easier to adapt it to a framework. The culture has already started to shift toward food safety, Yiannas said. It’s

been more than a decade since the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law, and the sweeping set of regulations set on preventing foodborne illness has made a big difference, he said. Now, farmers, importers and companies that transport food and ingredients are required to take food


safety precautions, and issues of safety and avoiding outbreaks are talked about in boardrooms, he said. If the culture about data collection and availability can shift, Yiannas can foresee a time maybe 50 years in the future when food safety compliance has shifted dramatically. Instead of the FDA focusing on writing rules and doing periodic inspections, food facilities will have real-time data monitoring that is interconnected, meaning regulators would always have an idea of how systems are operating and what needs attention. NUTRITION AND SAFETY PRIORITIES But FDA’s food safety functions go deeper than inspections and foodborne illness. The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition plays a role in ensuring ingredients are safe and that beneficial nutritional guidelines are followed. Mayne said the new budget would provide $8.3 million to support work assessing the safety of food additives and chemicals — an important area of regulation that has not benefited from budgetary increases to facilitate FSMA implementation. “We are already making progress in this area as evidenced by our work to remove certain PFAS used in food contact, but frankly, we need additional resources to conduct similar evaluations for many of the thousands of other chemicals present in the food supply,” Mayne said, referring to chemicals that were commonly used in food packaging that have been found to contribute to long-term negative health effects. “As we have seen with PFAS, sometimes new data become available that require FDA to reconsider previous safety designations. Ensuring the continued safety of food requires that we prioritize our postmarket efforts.” Mayne’s division is also working on maternal and infant health and nutrition, and has requested funds to bring more reviewers to evaluate new infant formula applications as well as drive healthy eating campaigns. Other nutrition-related initiatives slated for this year include work on modernizing product standards

FOOD SAFETY SYSTEMS CAN MODERNIZE HOW THEY UNDERTAKE EXCEPTIONAL COMPLIANCE OVERSIGHT BY USE OF DATA. of identity and further steps to address sodium content in products, she said. Coming out of the pandemic, FDA leaders said the past 15 months have taught them a lot about how the system right now works, as well as where it could be improved. Yiannas said the food system has been subjected to its biggest test in a century. It passed, he said, but not with flying colors. At the beginning of the pandemic, as grocery store shelves became empty and certain products were in short supply, supply chain issues in the food system became evident. Mayne added that many of these issues were logistical — as consumers abandoned foodservice options and turned to get all their food from grocery stores, it took time to redirect food for retail sale because of labeling and inspection laws governed by FDA. But Mayne said the department was nimble, offering flexibility for these labeling situations when needed, and working with the private sector to coordinate information and response. Digital data also played an important role in pandemic response, Yiannas said. FDA developed a system called 21 Forward initially to track COVID-19 outbreaks at facilities important to the food supply chain, from manufacturers to distributors. As the U.S. moved into vaccination mode, 21 Forward was redeployed to help keep track of COVID-19 vaccine efforts nationwide. Yiannas said the usefulness of 21 Forward, the exposed supply chain weaknesses and the value of information from private companies show the best way forward. “I believe that we have to continue to digitize the food system, understanding interdependencies and connections,” he said. Source:




In Kenya, Food Retailers Race to Improve Safety Standards


eatrice Njoki, the head of compliance at Kenyan supermarket chain Naivas, has been on the go since she was hired 11 months ago. The 31-year old runs Naivas’ newly created environmental health and food safety department, putting her in charge of the quality of the meat, milk, and vegetables at the chain’s 71 stores. In recent months, Njoki has been rolling out hygiene rules, and auditing suppliers—part of a major effort to implement international-caliber food safety standards. “The reason why we came onboard is mainly to protect the brand and win customer confidence,” said Njoki, who is part of a team of two risk managers. “Consumers need the assurance that whatever they are getting from our stores is safe for use.” Naivas is one of a growing number of African supermarkets that are adopting international food safety standards, a trend experts say could dramatically improve the quality of meat and produce on local shelves. That is considered crucial on a continent



where contaminated food sickens more than 91 million people every year and causes US$110 billion in economic damages, much of it in lost productivity. In Kenya, the push for higher standards follows an exposé by local broadcaster NTV, titled Red Alert, that found some Kenyan supermarkets use harmful chemicals to keep meat looking fresh. But even chains not implicated in the scandal are embracing food safety. Many see stricter standards as an investment in their brand and an avenue to sales growth, says Sarah Ockman, IFC’s Lead for Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services Advisory. Others are being pushed by risk-conscious investors who worry about the financial fallout of a food poisoning scandal, she adds. “We are witnessing what I think is the beginning of a sea change,” says Ockman. “Farmers, food processing companies, grocery stores—they are all starting to take food safety much more seriously, and that’s a good thing for the health and wellbeing of Africans.”


A RISKY PROPOSITION Like their African counterparts, Kenyan consumers face numerous food safety threats such as contaminated vegetables grown along sewer lines, fresh meat with toxic chemicals, and peanut butter and maize flour brands containing aflatoxin, a naturally occurring fungus that is harmful to humans and animals. A 2014 study by the International Livestock Research Institute shows Kenya is among the world’s hotspots for aflatoxins and has recorded two major illness outbreaks, including in 2004, which resulted in 100 deaths and more than 300 cases of poisoning. Along with often-dire health consequences, contaminated food has severe economic repercussions. A 2018 World Bank report revealed that unsafe food costs low- and middleincome economies $110 billion in lost productivity and medical expenses each year. To counter those threats, many African businesses have begun partnering with international institutions, like IFC, to improve their food safety standards. Take Azalaï Hotel Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire, which in 2018 worked with IFC to raise its food quality and hotel cleanliness to internationally certified standards. The company says this intervention has helped grow its business and made it more resilient during the pandemic. Laham Industrie, a meat processing company in Mali, got an international certification for its meat products and can now bid to supply meat to United Nations agencies. Twiga Foods, a food distribution company, has since 2019 trained more than 100 staff and farmers on food safety management and helped 18 farms in Kenya attain the GLOBALG.A.P certification standard, which will ensure 100 percent product traceability and quality assurance. Although the GLOBALG.A.P. certification is not a requirement in domestic markets, increasingly, food companies are applying global standards to local food products for long-term business benefits. A 2019 analysis by GLOBALG.A.P. found that 5,507 African FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

food producers were certified under a leading European testing system. That marked the biggest growth of any region in the world. Furthermore, in over a decade, IFC’s food safety programs have helped its clients increase sales by over US$709 million by implementing food safety management systems. SOLIDIFYING PRACTICES Though Naivas conducts regular supplier and store audits as per internationally accepted standards, it’s becoming essential for the company to grow its food safety systems. “We have had aspects of food safety, but it’s not matured. That is why we established the compliance department—so that we can get the necessary stakeholders to support us in developing it,” said Njoki. Those include IFC, which recently signed an agreement to support Naivas as it builds a food safety management team and its internal capacity to audit and police its food safety practices. IFC will also help the retailer to attain ISO 22000, an international food standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization, in its three stores and coach the team to roll out and onboard the system in over 70 stores. Naivas is optimistic its new standards will help it win over customers like Sam

Wanjohi, a Nairobi resident who has been rattled by the Red Alert coverage. Meat consumption in his home has dropped to one kilogram per week from three MANY SEE STRICTER STANDARDS AS AN INVESTMENT IN THEIR BRAND AND AN AVENUE TO SALES GROWTH kilograms. Also, he has become very picky about produce, inspecting vegetables for bugs and damage. “We were all skeptical of fresh meat and vegetables. We had to find alternatives for meat, but the consumption is slowly improving.” Naivas is now working to develop a quality assurance system that begins at the farm level and makes it easier to trace food. In a market like Kenya, filled with consumers who are more informed than ever, innovations like that are fast becoming vital. “Sale of safe food is our priority,” said Njoki. “Implementing a robust food safety management system in partnership with IFC will definitely strengthen our position as the largest retail in Kenya and win customers’ confidence.” Source:



Remarks by Frank Yiannas on World Food Safety Day 2021 at National Environmental Health Association/ Environmental Health Australia Event 60



Frank Yiannas


Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response - Food and Drug Administration very year, June 7 is World Food Safety Day and, every year, it becomes even clearer that all nations must stand together to help keep people all over the world safe and healthy. As we’ve learned from COVID-19, infectious diseases know no borders. The same is true of foodborne illness. In a global food system, if foodborne disease exists somewhere in the world, it can exist anywhere in the world. The theme of this day – “Safe Food Now for a Healthy Tomorrow” – speaks volumes. It conveys that how we produce food today affects the health and safety of people, animals, and even the planet tomorrow. For each and every one of you who work to protect consumers from unsafe food, your legacy is the preservation of health and of life itself. You will never know how many lives are saved, how you’ve improved the quality of life for others, or how our world is more vital and sustainable because of your efforts, but your impact is real and lasting. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization launched the first World Food Safety Day in 2019 and they’ve taken this stand: Food Safety is Everyone’s Business. They’re right. In a large, global food system, no single country, no single food producer, regardless of their size, can ensure food safety alone. Food safety requires collaboration. It’s a shared responsibility and we’ve all got a stake in this. Therefore, the calls to action on this day go out to governments, food producers, business operators, and consumers – all over the world - to do their part to help ensure that the foods that we buy, sell, eat, and serve to our customers, friends and families are safe and wholesome. . As nations continue to combat the danger that is COVID-19, the hope and commitment embodied in World Food Safety Day are more needed now than ever. Not just today, but every day. Not just in my country, but in all of our countries.


FROM FDA’S PERSPECTIVE I’d like to share with you what the U.S. FDA is doing to meet this call to action through our implementation of the landmark FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the goals we’ve set for a New Era of Smarter Food Safety that builds on our FSMA achievements. The commitment embodied in both FSMA and the New Era initiative is to protect consumers from unsafe foods, no matter where in the world that food is produced. The vision embodied in both is that consumers must be secure in the knowledge that everything that can be done is being done to keep the global food supply safe. We passed an important milestone this year – the 10th anniversary of the signing of FSMA into law on January 4, 2011. There’s still work to be done, but we’ve accomplished a lot over the past decade. Because of FSMA, those who grow, produce, pack, hold, import and transport our food are now taking concrete steps every day to reduce the risk of contamination. Importantly, and as a result of FSMA, there has been a bigger conversation about the importance of food safety over the past decade. This call to action emanated from the halls of Congress and has traveled to farms, food facilities, corporations, and consumers all over the world. We are building on what we have achieved through FSMA with the New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative by using new technologies and approaches to build a more digital, traceable and safer food system. We also learned during the pandemic that the New Era is an approach whose time has come. STRIVING FOR TRANSPARENCY The virus that causes COVID-19 is not known to be transmitted via food or food packaging, but the pandemic has raised complex food issues for all nations. Early in the pandemic, there were food system imbalances in the marketplace and temporary shortages of certain

commodities. In March of last year, we were days away from releasing a blueprint outlining a 10-year plan to implement the New Era initiative when FDA’s attention rightfully shifted to pandemic response. By the time we released the blueprint in July, it was clear that there is an accelerated need for these goals. For example, both FSMA and the New Era priorities include enhanced IF FOODBORNE DISEASE EXISTS SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD, IT CAN EXIST ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. traceability of foods to rapidly identify the source of a contaminated food to solve outbreaks sooner and prevent additional illnesses. We learned during the pandemic that enhancing traceability may help create the type of food system transparency needed to anticipate and help manage supply chain disruptions and market imbalances in a public health emergency. FOCUSING ON IMPORTS Another goal of our New Era approach is to evaluate the feasibility of using new regulatory compliance assessment tools, such as remote inspections of foreign and domestic firms with a demonstrated history of compliance. The pandemic hastened the need for alternatives when routine surveillance inspections were temporarily suspended last year before being resumed in July 2020. In April 2020 we began remote inspections of importers subject to the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) requirements. The FSVP rule established by FSMA allows FDA to request records electronically from importers to help ensure that their foreign food suppliers are meeting U.S. safety standards. By doing this, we not only didn’t miss a beat in FSVP inspections, we have conducted a record number since March 2020 – more than 1,600. We also want to explore the preventive



REGULATORY: FRANK YIANNAS value of new prediction tools that can help make sense of large data streams. We have been conducting a pilot that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to strengthen our ability to predict which shipments of imported goods pose the greatest risk of violation and use that information to better target import review resources. In August 2020, we announced the findings of a proof of concept application of AI and machine learning models to two years of historical shipment data of seafood. Imagine having a tool that almost triples our ability to know which of millions of shipping containers to examine because they’re more likely to have violative products. The second phase of this pilot was launched this February, applying the AI/ML model to real-world field conditions. ORDERING SAFE FOODS ONLINE FDA also wants to help ensure the safety of foods ordered online and delivered directly to consumers. The way consumers access food continues to evolve from around the corner to around the world and with an ever-changing last mile. Before the pandemic, research indicated that online grocery shopping would have a 20 percent share of consumer food spending within the next few years. But the pandemic has rapidly accelerated this trend, with one study reporting that food retailers saw online sales jump more than 300 percent in the first several months of the pandemic. EMBRACING A FOOD SAFETY CULTURE ALSO MEANS KEEPING FOOD WORKERS SAFE, A PRIORITY THAT HAS BECOME CLEAR DURING THE PANDEMIC.

We are planning a New Business Model Summit later this year to gain a greater understanding of evolving direct-to-consumer business models and explore the best ways to address potential food safety vulnerabilities. Here again, the need for best practices has been reinforced and accelerated by COVID-19. A NEW LIGHT ON FOOD SAFETY CULTURE We gained a new perspective during the pandemic on our plans to support the establishment of strong food safety cultures on farms, in food facilities, and even in homes around the world. We will not make dramatic improvements in reducing the burden of foodborne disease without doing more to influence human behavior, especially among social groups whether it be in a business, a country, or a home. But embracing a food safety culture also means keeping food workers safe, a priority that has become clear during the pandemic. FDA has worked with our federal regulatory partners to provide the food industry with resources on safe practices to help reduce the risk of infection. We are also using a data analysis tool, called 21 Forward, that we developed last year to monitor the food supply chain to help with vaccination planning by providing states with key information about the location of food 62


and agriculture workers in their counties. And with more people cooking at home when restaurants temporarily closed, we recognized – and have responded to -- the need to support consumers with information on best food safety practices in their kitchen. Taking responsibility and protecting each other is not just the foundation of a food safety culture; it is the belief inherent in both FSMA and the New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative. It mirrors the underlying theme of World Food Safety Day, that we – government, industry, and consumers – must all work together to help keep each other safe. THE BURDEN OF FOODBORNE ILLNESS Too many people are dying from foodborne disease, with an estimated 600 million illnesses –almost 1 in 10 people in the world – and 420,000 deaths annually. In the United States alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million get sick and 3,000 people die each year from foodborne illnesses. Again, this is not just the responsibility of a single nation. We are all increasingly eating foods from all over the world. In the U.S., about 15 percent of the food supply is imported from more than 200 countries or territories, including 32 percent of the fresh vegetables, 55 percent of the fresh fruit and at least 94 percent of the seafood that Americans eat each year. Food safety is indeed everyone’s business. A World Food Safety Day page at has valuable information about how to participate in spreading the word about food safety and what you can do to avoid foodborne illnesses. World Food Safety Day is a recognition that when it comes to food safety, we all win or lose together. It’s a commitment that we can win -- no, that we MUST win -- together. FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

Why food safety in Africa’s informal markets must be driven by consumers


By Arie Havelaar, Professor, University of Florida & Ashagrie Zewdu Woldegiorgis, Assistant Professor, Addis Ababa University isteria in processed meat products from South Africa, E. Coli in romaine lettuce in the US, Salmonella in eggs across Europe and Campylobacter in chicken liver pâté in Australia. These are among the many pathogens and foods at the centre of recent food safety crises worldwide, estimated to impact as many people as infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB. But while deaths and illnesses from unsafe food hit countries worldwide, the incidences of these illnesses and lost lives are disproportionately high in Africa. Across the continent, tainted food kills about 140 000 people every year, and leaves 91 million more suffering from diarrhoea, tapeworm, hepatitis and even dysentery and typhoid. This is on course to become even worse as income growth and urbanisation in Africa are enabling better, more diverse diets. Ironically, these healthier foods – such as dairy, eggs, meat, fruits and vegetables – are more likely to be contaminated. Because the food system across most of Africa is largely informal and unregulated, pinpointing the source of food


illness, critical to its eradication, is challenging. It could be meat contaminated in an abattoir, listeria-tainted food doled out from a food cart or mold-infected grain baked into bread. Contaminated food will continue to be a public menace until countries implement systems ensuring the safety and quality of food throughout the food chain — from the farm to the table. LIMITED KNOWLEDGE Ethiopia is among the first African countries to prioritise food safety. Deaths and illnesses from a range of food borne pathogens are commonplace. Adulteration is also rampant. Producers of the beloved national dish, injera, have even been caught mixing sawdust with teff flour for economic gain. The Ministry of Health is developing a functional food safety system that incentivises companies to deliver safer food and regulates those who don’t deliver standard food products. But Ethiopia, and countries like it, won’t conquer the complex food safety challenges that come with informal food systems until everyday consumers are empowered to become the first line JULY/AUGUST 2021 | FOOD SAFETY AFRICA MAGAZINE




to determine how consumers’ relationship with food can be transformed to improve food safety in informal markets for vegetables and poultry. We’re focused in areas where monitoring and regulation is difficult to achieve. While previous efforts to weed out bad food have focused on training producers or regulators, this project also seeks to harness the voice of consumers. Related studies in the country are devising how to manage the health risks of raw foods. Other factors being looked into are foodborne disease epidemiology, surveillance and control. A central aim is to build the know-how Ethiopian government officials, academics and consumers need to take on foodborne illnesses. These initiatives demonstrate that policymakers, donors and researchers are increasingly asking themselves how they can tackle food safety challenges to ensure food is not just plentiful and nutritious, but also safe.

of defence against unsafe food. In many countries across the globe, well-informed consumers — often with the help of lawyers and NGOs - have successfully used their purchasing power to compel bad-acting companies to fall in line with food safety standards. African consumers could likewise become catalysts for better food. But before this power can be unlocked citizens need a crash course in food safety. Right now, this knowledge is limited. This is certainly the case in Ethiopia where we are involved in ongoing research The country’s consumption of raw foods illustrates the case. Raw beef is deeply embedded in Ethiopian food culture. People are aware it could make them sick, yet they don’t know how to ensure it’s safe — and they don’t want to give it up. Raw milk is also beloved. But a study found that most households were unaware of milk-borne diseases. LESSONS FROM ELSEWHERE In the UK and elsewhere in Europe, consumer faith in beef collapsed after an outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. The result was that the European Union’s food safety system was completely overhauled to win back trust. And in South Africa, the company responsible for the Listeria-tainted bologna that killed 200 people faces class action lawsuits from the families of the victims. In Ethiopia, new research – jointly funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – underway is trying 64


TURNING POINT A 2015 report offering the first-ever estimates of the incidence, mortality and disease burden due to 31 foodborne hazards worldwide marked a turning point in this thinking. Fuelling this momentum, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the World Bank and the African Union co-hosted two of the largest international gatherings on food safety this year, which took place in Switzerland and Ethiopia.

Clearly, international and national actors are moving in the right direction, but more must be done to maximise the role of consumers — where they buy and eat the food, whether it’s in markets, food stalls or at dining tables. A bottom up approach that educates and empowers consumers is the only way to ensure that the drive toward healthier, more sustainable diets delivered through agriculture doesn’t neglect the role of food safety in securing the health of millions. FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET

Rainforest Alliance Has a New Certification Standard


By Katherine Matinko n 2018 Rainforest Alliance merged with UTZ, another leading sustainability certification, to create a single, larger organization. Since then it has been working hard to produce an updated set of certification standards that reflects the two groups’ 45 years of combined experience. That new standard was released in 2020 and will take effect in July 2021 on Rainforest Alliance-certified farms around the world. To those unfamiliar with Rainforest Alliance, you may already know the little green frog seal that appears on consumer products, typically sourced from tropical regions. Rainforest Alliance is similar to Fairtrade in that both value the social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainability, but each approaches it differently. Rainforest Alliance describes itself as “using social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of farmers and forest communities.” It sees social, economic, and environmental improvement as “inseparable elements of the broader goal of sustainability,” whereas Fairtrade focuses more on connecting impoverished, disadvantaged producers with consumers.


Treehugger spoke to Ruth Rennie, Rainforest Alliance’s director of standards and assurances, for an in-depth look at what the new standard brings to the world of sustainable and ethical agriculture. Rennie explained that it introduces a number of key innovations. MAIN FEATURES First is “a move beyond a simple pass-fail system” and a shift toward continuous improvement. “Of course, the 2020 standard includes core requirements based on our in-depth experience in sustainable agriculture which all producers must implement to be certified,” Rennie said, as well as requirements for producers to continuously improve their sustainability performance over time. “Producers who want to go beyond these requirements can implement self-selected requirements chosen by farmers based on their own context or aspirations. We have also introduced a new tool called the smart meter, which allows farmers to set their own targets, based on an assessment of the sustainability risks JULY/AUGUST 2021 | FOOD SAFETY AFRICA MAGAZINE


COMPLIANCE: RAINFOREST ALLIANCE they face, and measure the impact of improvement actions they take to address these risks.” A second feature is the improved use of data to track positive environmental and social impact, as expected by consumers. The new standard uses “new tools and technologies such as GIS mapping to support better analysis and verification of issues such as deforestation.” Rennie then offered the example of how technology is fighting deforestation in cocoa-producing regions of West Africa. She explained that in 2019 all UTZ and Rainforest Alliancecertified groups in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire were required to provide GPS locations for at least 50% of their farms to check whether they were in Protected Areas or zones at risk of deforestation. (Unless farms have express permission from the government to operate in protected areas, they cannot attain certification.) The data was analyzed against government-issued maps and maps created by Global Forest Watch to ensure no encroachment occurred. Those that failed to address the issues identified had their certifications were withheld. These maps are provided to third-party auditors and to Rainforest Alliance monitoring staff for follow-up. Thirdly, the standard recognizes that the burden of RAINFOREST ALLIANCE’S NEW CERTIFICATION STANDARD IS A MOVE BEYOND A “SIMPLE PASS-FAIL SYSTEM” AND A SHIFT TOWARD CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT. achieving greater sustainability shouldn’t just fall to farmers. It must be shared with buyers as well, which is why they are now expected to “reward producers for their efforts to meet sustainable agriculture requirements, and to make the necessary investments to support producers to improve their sustainability performance.” This reward comes in the form of a Sustainability Investment requirement, which is a cash or in-kind payment to farmers based on their own investment plans. Furthermore, buyers must pay a Sustainability Differential, which is a minimum cash payment to farms over and above market price. “This payment is designed to be completely free of restrictions or requirements on how it is used,” Rainforest Alliance explains, and while the amount is not fixed, it offers guidance on what a proper amount would comprise. Cocoa is one exception with a mandated differential at $70/metric ton (effective July 2022). It is paid to the individual farmer to use as he or she wants. ADDITIONAL PRIORITIES Another prominent principle of the new standard is the concept of contextualization. This, Rennie explained, is rooted in the idea that producers must analyze their own sustainability risks and adopt appropriate responses to improve their performance. For example: “Farms that have no waterbodies will not be required to 66


implement measures to protect them, and farms that do not hire workers will not need to implement requirements related to workers’ conditions. When they register for certification, producers will receive a ‘contextualized’ checklist including only the standard requirements that are applicable to them based on the data they have provided.” In keeping with its reputation as a defender of the natural environment, Rainforest Alliance prohibits deforestation, as well as destruction of all natural ecosystems, including wetlands and peatlands. It has minimum requirements for natural vegetation cover to be achieved on farms through agroforestry techniques, and farmers are expected to build up soil health using organic means whenever possible. The use of agrochemicals is not prohibited, but strictly controlled. “Farms that have destroyed natural ecosystems since 2014 will not be able to be certified. We have chosen 2014 as the baseline year for measuring the conversion/destruction of natural ecosystems for several reasons. Satellite data is more FOODSAFETYAFRICA.NET


readily available from that year onwards, providing more robust data for improved assurance.” When asked what could lead a farm to become decertified, Rennie said that certificates are canceled immediately “if systemic issues are identified that have resulted in practices that do not comply with standard requirements and cannot be corrected.” This could be use of banned pesticides, conversion of natural ecosystems, failure to maintain adequate traceability of certified products, and illegal or unethical practices and severe human rights abuses that have not been remediated. Child labor does not constitute an immediate cancellation, as Rainforest Alliance prefers to focus on remediation. From a document introducing the standard: “What we have learned through many years of experience is that only prohibiting child labor and other labor and human rights violations is

insufficient. For example, if automatic decertification is the response for any detected incident of child labor, this will likely drive the problem underground, making it harder to detect by auditors and harder for us to address. That’s why our new certification program promotes an ‘assess-and-address’ approach to tackling labor and other human rights violations.” WHY THIS STANDARD MATTERS It’s a tough time to be in the ethical labeling/certification standard business. On one hand, sustainable agriculture is needed more desperately than ever, and any organization working to improve that is doing important work for the planet. On the other hand, consumer skepticism is at an all-time high, particularly following a rather scathing investigative report by MSI Integrity last year that found many labels to be ineffective. To that, Rennie responded that “certification systems alone cannot address the systemic issues that drive poor worker protection and human rights abuses in supply chains.” She makes a valid point, and perhaps it is overly idealistic of consumers to assume that


a single label makes everything perfect. Rennie continued, “Certification plays an important role in highlighting these issues and supporting producers to adopt good practices. However, meaningful protection of human rights throughout supply chains requires a smart mix of voluntary certification standards, effective government regulation and enforcement, and robust corporate due diligence by buyers and brands.” In other words, we can’t leave it up to a single certification to fix all the problems for us. That’s an absurd expectation. Rather, an ethical label is a piece of the bigger puzzle that requires all of our participation, across a broad range of domains. I still maintain that supporting brands that prioritize ethical practices by opting to become certified in the first place sends an important message out into the world. It’s far better than nothing and deserves our support. Source:



RESEARCH: DRUG RESIDUES By Ifenna Ilechukwu, Lecturer of Environmental Chemistry, Madonna University, Nigeria

We found traces of drugs in a dam that supplies Nigeria’s capital city


harmaceuticals – drugs used to prevent or treat human and animal diseases – are essential for health and well-being. But the increasing use of these drugs means that remnants of them are showing up in the aquatic environment. They are contaminating our waters. Pharmaceuticals are part of a group of substances known as emerging contaminants. Although they are potentially harmful to human and ecological health, they are yet to be regulated and routinely monitored in the environment. Most conventional treatment plants typically do not remove emerging pollutants because they were not originally designed for them. These contaminants can enter oceans, rivers, streams, dams and groundwater through waste water and sewage treatment plants, human excretion, landfill leaching, healthcare facilities, pharmaceutical industry effluents and veterinary drug applications. The contaminants may be transported in water to other places or accumulate in sediments – rocks, sand, soils, decaying materials and vegetation under water – and in creatures that live in water. Some of the effects of these drugs on aquatic organisms include DNA damage, disruptions to hormonal systems and


formation of antibiotic resistant microbial strains. There have been several studies of pharmaceuticals in aquatic environments across the world but only a few studies in African countries. So in our study, we investigated the occurrence of selected pharmaceuticals in water and sediments of Usuma dam in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. We also assessed the risk of the harm they could do. We found traces of pharmaceuticals in water and sediment of the dam and that is not good for ecological and public health. SINK FOR POLLUTANTS The dam is an important source of potable water and fish for people living in Abuja. It is also a major receiving water body, so acts as a sink for pollutants from the environs. It is surrounded by large unplanned settlements and is the major drain for household, municipal and agricultural wastes in the area. Our research investigated the occurrence of selected antibiotics and analgesics (painkillers) in water and sediments of Usuma dam. We looked for antibiotics in water samples and found amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin and metronidazole. Trimethoprim was found in the sediment samples. These antibiotics are used to treat or prevent bacterial infections. Ibuprofen, detected only in sediments, was the only painkiller detected in the study. We found that amoxicillin and ibuprofen presented a high risk to aquatic life in the dam. Ciprofloxacin constituted medium risk, while metronidazole constituted low risk. Pharmaceuticals are designed to exert maximum effects at low concentration. Therefore, any concentration found in water and soil is not good for public and ecological health. If these drugs negatively affect the fishes in the dam through accumulation, they may also


affect humans who eat them and drink water from the dam. Any consumption of drugs other than a prescribed dose for a particular ailment is a health risk. We observed that the chief source of pharmaceuticals in the dam is human excretion. Sewage from unplanned settlements that lack basic sanitation and sewage treatment facilities around the dam is disposed of directly onto the ground and eventually drains into the dam. Other likely sources include improper disposal of medical and veterinary waste. GOING FORWARD The occurrence of pharmaceuticals in the Usuma dam is not an isolated case in Nigeria. Similar studies have reported the presence of pharmaceuticals in Lagos and Ogun state waters and even in sachet water that many Nigerians drink. The solution to this budding environmental challenge should therefore ANY CONSUMPTION OF DRUGS OTHER THAN A PRESCRIBED DOSE FOR A PARTICULAR AILMENT IS A HEALTH RISK. be a national response. In 2019, the Nigerian government signed an executive order to tackle open defecation. This is a step in the right direction and should be implemented. It should also be followed up by providing people with sewage and sanitation facilities. Healthcare centres and hospitals should ensure efficient management of medical wastes according to existing laws and regulations. The government must also strictly monitor sewage from drug manufacturing plants. Finally, government can do more to monitor contamination of water systems and improve awareness of the issue.



ADVERTISE IN THE MAGAZINE READ BY KEY DECISION MAKERS IN AFRICA’S FOOD, BEVERAGE & MILLING INDUSTRY Distributed to over 16 African countries and available in digital format, Food Business Africa is the leading publication that will make your brand stand out in Africa and beyond.


SEPTEMBER 28, 2021

Join us as we define the next steps to developing a vibrant dairy industry in West Africa



oin us as we deliver deep, and action-oriented insights into how to boost investments, mainstream sustainability and improve efficiencies and food safety in West Africa’s dairy sector. This ONE DAY virtual AFMASS Digital Summit offers the platform to discover the opportunities in the dairy industry chain in West Africa – from Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast and other countries in the region – from leading manufacturers, technology providers, Government agencies and non-profit players. Join over 500 participants and 10 speakers at these high-level conversation and discovery sessions, in a number of tracks that will answer some of the queries you may have on the key challenges, opportunities and market trends in the dairy industry in West Africa.

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