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Agenda Item 5(CAF 05/2)

(Paper prepared by FAO Regional Office for Africa, Accra, Ghana)

1. Introduction

In a region where food insecurity, political instability, communicable diseases, natural disasters and other major concerns dominate government agendas and the news media, the importance of food safety is often not well understood. However, food safety is of critical importance to Africa because of its aggravating impact over the above listed concerns.

The 1996 World Food Summit Plan of Action recognized the importance of food safety, as it defined food security as: “…when all people … (have) access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food …”. Furthermore, food-borne illnesses contribute to decreased worker productivity, disability, and even early death, thus lowering incomes and access to food. Food-borne illnesses also contribute to human suffering in the region. There is a high incidence of diarrheal diseases in African children, estimated as 3.3 to 4.1 episodes per child per year. It is estimated that 800,000 children in Africa die each year from diarrhea and dehydration1.

Practices aimed at improving food safety also reduce food losses and increase food availability. In addition, countries that are able to ensure safe food can take advantage of international trade opportunities, thereby increasing income levels. For example, Kenya was able to increase its fish exports to the EU from 742 metric tons in 1999 to 2 818 tons in 2001 as a result of strengthening their food safety measures. For various reasons, governments of the region may not be able to enforce proper food import inspections, causing potential inflow of sub-standard and even unsafe imported food. This lack of access to safe food, low income levels and a sense of injustice in trade issues are often an important factor in increased political turmoil, further underlining the importance of food safety for the region.

Persons suffering from diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other various ailments affecting the region are at a greater risk to be debilitated by unsafe food, as their immune systems are already compromised. Thus, the assurance of safe food is essential to improving the quality of life for those already affected by disease. Equally, persons suffering from food-borne illness are more likely to contract other communicable diseases. Furthermore, food-borne diseases are one of the most important underlying factors for malnutrition and, indirectly, for respiratory tract infections in developing countries. Repeated episodes of food-borne diseases over a period of time can lead to malnutrition with a serious impact on the growth and the immune systems of infants and children.

Natural disasters such as droughts and floods also often affect the region. Crops grown and stored under such conditions are more susceptible to mycotoxin contamination, a harmful naturally occurring toxin. For example, more than 100 deaths were reported in the region in mid-2004, due to acute mycotoxin intoxication.

Unfortunately, the food safety systems in most countries of the region are generally weak, fragmented and not well coordinated; and thus are not effective enough to adequately protect the health of consumers and to enhance the competitiveness of food exports. It is, however, recognized that improving food safety systems has many short and long-term costs and can be a challenging process for many countries to undertake.

Although the situation in every country is affected by the particular country conditions, some common principles and components of an effective food safety system are generally needed in each country. Each of the main components of an effective food safety system will be discussed below, addressing the overall situation of each, as well as recommendations to be considered by the Conference. It should be noted, however, that a full analysis of the food safety control systems in Africa would require a much lengthier and more comprehensive study of the situation in the individual countries, and would go beyond the size limit of the present document.

2. Overview of the components of FSMS in Africa and actions required to address deficiencies

2.1 National food safety policy

Coherent national food safety policies are the foundation for effective food safety management systems. In general, food safety concerns are not adequately addressed in national governmental policies in most African countries; therefore, coordinated and sustainable approaches to the holistic management of food safety cannot be adopted. As previously indicated, most countries of the region do not appreciate the major public health and economic implications of food safety, so food safety remains a low priority in national policy making. Therefore, governments of the region must work to understand the public health and economic benefits of improving food safety systems, and, accordingly, develop coherent national food safety policies, in consultation with all stakeholders, including the food industry, relevant research institutions and consumers.

2.2 Food legislation

The traditional food control systems in most African countries do not provide the concerned agencies with a clear mandate and authority to prevent food safety problems. Furthermore, food legislation that is in line with international requirements (Codex) is lacking in many African countries. As evidenced in Table 1, the existing food legislation is outdated, inadequate, fragmented and can be found in various statutes and codes, creating an evitable confusion among food control enforcement agents, producers and distributors. Enforcement of food legislation is also problematic, often resulting in insufficient consumer protection against fraudulent practices and contaminated food products, and leading to the importation and domestic production of substandard food items as well as trade rejections of food exports from the region. The informal sector, which is often a significant producer and distributor of fresh and processed food products (including street foods2) for direct consumption, is often outside the scope of official control systems and remains the least controlled, except by municipal environmental hygiene authorities.

Basic food laws must emanate from national food safety policies that acknowledge the importance of a science based approach to food safety and clearly define responsibilities for the implementing agencies. Governments are encouraged to utilize tools and advice provided by FAO and WHO in the development of food legislation, as well as all other aspects of national food control systems. In particular, the 2003 FAO/WHO Guidelines for Strengthening National Food Control Systems3 offers interesting options that may be considered in this field. As with food safety policies, all relevant stakeholders must also be involved in the development of food legislation, which should also increase the rate of compliance with the laws and regulations.

2.3 Development of national food standards

Globalization of food markets compels nations to develop food standards that are responsive to the needs of users as well as being accepted and recognized internationally. The WTO SPS Agreement stipulates that national sanitary and phytosanitary standards that are based on internationally agreed Codex Alimentarius, IPPC or OIE standards do not require further scientific justification. As indicated in Table 2, some of the countries of the region have national standards bodies that establish food standards, often based on the relevant Codex standards. However, the food standards authorities in many other countries are not well defined and are not actively engaged in the establishment of national food standards.

As part of the overall food safety management system, national governments should establish food standards based on the Codex Alimentarius. Similar to food safety policies and legislation, all stakeholders, including consumers, must be involved in the development of national food standards.

2.4 Science-based risk assessment of food safety issues

While there is an almost universal agreement that a sound scientific risk assessment is an essential part of the basis for any food safety risk management decision, meeting the need for competent, timely and independent risk assessments presents a considerable challenge to most African countries. Risk assessments are needed for establishing relevant food safety legislations, as well as to assist in the establishment of food inspection priorities and other food safety policies. FAO and WHO have recently developed a Food Safety Risk Analysis Manual that further describes the concept and process of risk assessment, as well as risk management and communication.

However, the number of food safety hazards whose risk must be assessed is large, and expanding. The magnitude of adverse health effects associated with food contaminants continues to expand as scientific research develops additional ways to measure harm. Almost all African countries face similar problems of lack of expertise and difficulty in collecting their own toxicological and exposure assessment data to conduct risk assessments.

Governments of the region should utilize the risk assessments carried out by the FAO/WHO risk assessment bodies in their food safety decision-making. Countries must also actively supply their national data on contaminant levels, food consumption patterns, and all other data requested by the FAO/WHO risk assessment bodies so that these international assessments accurately reflect the situation in countries of the region. However, the countries of Africa often have different needs and priorities than the international bodies for the substances on which to conduct risk assessments. As most countries of the region do not have adequate resources to effectively conduct the needed risk assessments at a national level, a regional risk assessment body may provide a valuable service in conducting risk assessments required by national governments.

2.5 Inspection mechanisms/schemes

An effective food safety management system requires clear inspection policy and procedures that are applied by inspectors who are well trained not only to apply these procedures but also to act as quality assurance advisors and extension officers to the food industry. Food inspectors in Africa suffer generally from (i) a low professional status which is not commensurate with their responsibilities, (ii) a lack of logistical support to carry out the inspections (transport, inspection equipment, etc.) and (iii) the cumulative tasks often requested from them (price control, inspection of non-food consumer items, weights and measures, environmental hygiene, etc.). National food inspection services are often located in the capitals and major cities, with little if any control exercised in small towns and rural areas. Few countries of the region have efficient national import/export inspection and certification systems, as indicated in Table 2. Some countries do conduct partial inspections of meat and/or fish imports and exports. In countries where a strong export market exists in a particular sector, the inspection services are often engaged in the control of the concerned products. In order to benefit from potential food export earnings and to protect themselves against sub-standard imported foods, governments of the region must actively upgrade their inspection systems, in both quality and quantity, to meet their national needs in this field.

2.6 Laboratory support service

Effective enforcement of food legislation and the implementation of food-borne disease surveillance systems require sound and efficient food analysis capabilities at national and sub-national levels. Unfortunately, food control laboratories in the African region are generally very weak, as indicated in Table 2. The majority of public health laboratories do not have the capacity to test for chemical contaminants and naturally occurring toxins. Some identified causes of this weakness are as follows:

Only a few of the testing laboratories in Africa are accredited for specific tests in accordance with the quality, administrative and technical requirements of ISO 17025, the international standard that provides general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. As a result, competence in terms of equipment and operator skills, as well as reliability of results may not be satisfactory. Furthermore, food exporters may need to send samples of their products to accredited laboratories outside the country for testing in order to be accepted by the importing country. This adds to the cost and inconvenience of the process of exporting foods from the region.

The countries of the region must give greater priority to strengthening food control laboratories. Neighbouring countries could also work together to develop inter-laboratory testing programmes, joint training programmes or even sub-regional laboratories that could serve the needs of multiple countries. Governments could also work to strengthen public-private partnerships between laboratories to better utilize scarce resources within a country.

2.7 Capability of the food industry to supply safe food

Food production, processing, and marketing in most countries in the region is highly fragmented among a large number of small producers and handlers who lack appropriate knowledge and expertise in the application of modern practices and food hygiene. The challenges and possibilities for these small and medium producers to produce safe and high quality food is further detailed in CAF 05/5. Coupled with the challenges of small and medium enterprises, there are few well established systems for assisting these companies to develop their capacity to provide safe food, as indicated in Table 2. Some countries that actively export products to high-income countries from particular sectors, such as fish, horticultural crops and meat, do have adequate training and support for industries in those sectors. In many of these cases, the food industry has accepted the primary responsibility for food quality and safety, as occurs in other regions of the world. Therefore, the food industry often leads the training and development in these fields, with other stakeholders as facilitators. However, many sectors in many countries are still in need of restructuring to be in line with current food safety and quality assurance requirements, including the application of Good Hygienic Practices (GHP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system.

In addition to food products for export, national governments are also responsible for the safety and quality of food produced for domestic consumption through open markets, supermarkets, schools, hospitals, restaurants, street food vending and other methods. Efforts to improve the safety and quality of foods for these markets are often very poorly financed. Accordingly, all stakeholders, including the food industry, governments and civil society must make a conscious effort to train and equip the food industry to produce safe and high quality food in all the countries of the region.

2.8 Information network on food safety issues

An increasingly important role for national food control systems is the delivery of information and advice to stakeholders across the farm-to-table continuum, both within the country and in other countries. These activities include the following:

Structured and regular acquisition and dissemination of relevant information to the public on food safety problems and corresponding measures taken to resolve them is lacking in most of the countries of the region (Table 3). Such information systems would serve as a basis for building confidence among consumers and the media. This would cause consumers to be prepared to raise issues related to food safety and expect that the concerned agencies will take the necessary action to protect consumers. Furthermore, governments should have a mechanism to share information on outbreaks of food-borne diseases and their results, including the loss of productivity and economic implications. This information is currently not readily acquired or disseminated to the relevant agencies for necessary action.

It is also essential that governments share information with other countries within the region, as well as with countries outside the region. For example, countries should follow the Codex Guidelines for the Exchange of Information in Food Safety Emergency Situations (CAC/GL 19–1995, Rev. 1–2004). Also, many countries recognize the importance of sharing information on food imports that are rejected due to inferior quality or safety, but a network to effectively share this information with other countries has yet to be developed for use by the countries of the region. Concerned agencies also need to have access to information on rejection and/or downgrading of food exports from their country so that corrective actions may be taken.

2.9 Training/education in food safety

It is generally recognized that knowledge related to food safety provides the basis for the development of intervention strategies and initiatives aimed at preventing food-borne illness. However, no single country in the region has established on-going educational programmes for government food control officials, food industry officials and/or consumers. Training/education that does exist is sporadic, not focused and not based on actual and/or possible food safety problems. Most importantly, such education is currently unsustainable because beneficiaries do not appreciate its usefulness enough to prompt them to pay for the services, therefore reducing the quality of education available.

2.10 Consumer awareness raising

The importance of consumer education in the prevention of food-borne illness is universally recognized. When consumers are quality and safety conscious, they are able to complement the efforts of food control agencies in encouraging the food industry to provide good quality and safe food.

In view of the catalytic role played by consumer associations in promoting the quality and safety of food supplies, governments of the region should facilitate the establishment and sustainability of these associations. These associations are active in some parts of Africa, but should be encouraged to increase their efforts to educate consumers and to hold the food industry and governments accountable for safe and high quality food.

2.11 Coordination of food safety activities at national level

Assuring food safety in a global economy requires a high degree of communication, coordination, and cooperation within and between countries. Management of food safety is a multi-sectoral affair, often involving the ministries of health, agriculture, trade/industry and at times fisheries, tourism, and local governments. In the absence of a well-defined national food safety policy with implementation plans, these organizations tend to operate in accordance with their own aspirations of food safety. Furthermore, without well-established responsibilities for these organizations, the scarce resources available in the countries of the region often dissipate through the duplication of efforts. When agencies are nominated to coordinate national food safety activities, they often lack the required resources to perform assigned duties effectively.

Accordingly, a properly established and sustainable co-ordination mechanism with well-defined responsibilities for each agency is essential. However, as evidenced in Table 3, very few countries in the region currently have effectively functioning coordination mechanisms. Conference paper CAF 05/6 further describes the coordination and cooperation at national and regional levels.

2.12 Epidemiological surveillance of food-borne diseases

As previously indicated, many food-borne disease incidents are reported every year in Africa. Numerous factors, many of which are discussed in this document, contribute to this high number of incidents. However, it is extremely important to note that most cases of food-borne disease in the region are not reported, so the true extent of the problem is unknown.

In most countries in the region, the surveillance infrastructure for food-borne diseases of both microbiological and chemical etiology is weak or non-existent. With the exception of cholera (which is subject to the WHO International Health Regulations), there is no obligation to report food-borne disease internationally. As evidenced by Table 4, only some of the countries of the region require national reporting of food-borne disease incident and even fewer actually have accurate reporting. This absence of reliable data on the burden of food-borne disease impedes understanding about its public health importance and prevents the development of risk based solutions to its management.

2.13 Membership in Codex

Most countries in the region (48 out of 53) are members of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and have established National Codex Committees and National Codex Contact Points (Table 4). Most of these countries have also indicated their adoption of one or more Codex standards. Some have utilized Codex standards in the development of their national food legislation while others have, in the absence of other national legislation, enforced Codex standards. Each Codex member country in the region must effectively monitor and adopt Codex standards and participate in the elaboration of Codex standards, codes and guidelines so that these standards reflect the needs of African countries.

2.14 Biosafety concerns (regulations on biotechnology or GMOs)

Only a few countries in the region have established regulatory frameworks concerning foods derived from modern biotechnology, including Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Most of the countries are, however, signatories to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Table 5). With the rapid development of the application of modern biotechnology in food production, it is important that each country of the region determines its policy in this field. Because of the trans-border effect of GMOs, it in essential that such policies are harmonized sub-regionally to ensure effectiveness.

3. Recommendations for establishing integrated, suitable and effective food safety management systems

The food safety management system as well as the food control needs of each country in Africa are unique. Accordingly, the countries of the region must develop strategies to respond to these needs in their own context, using best practice principles adopted by other regions.

The countries of the region must accurately identify their specific food safety capacity building needs so that they can prioritize where to focus their scarce resources. FAO and WHO have recently developed a Food Safety Capacity Needs Assessment tool for official food control systems to assist governments in this regard. Countries should seek to utilize this tool and adhere to the results of the assessment.

African countries often depend on development partners who are not always committed to the sustained strengthening of food safety management systems. As a result, the assistance provided may be donor driven and not based on actual needs. Such assistance is often not “owned” by the beneficiaries and accordingly, may not be sustainable. Donors and beneficiaries must work together to determine the needs to be addressed, as well as the means of addressing them.

The governments of the region must be more prepared to deploy adequate resources for establishing effective food safety management systems. However, governments must also have accurate, timely and relevant information in order to compel policy makers to prioritize improvements to food safety systems higher than other competing requests for scarce national resources. Policy makers require reliable data on the economic and health implications of food safety management systems and on the possible measures to be instituted to attain quality and safety in food supplies. Academia and research institutes, along with all other stakeholders within the country and within the region, must work together to ensure this accurate collection of data to assist policy makers in their decisions.

In addition to the points raised elsewhere in this document, governments should undertake the following actions in an effort to improve food safety management systems:

(A) Health and economic implications

In order for national food safety policy makers to better prioritize scarce resources, governments must generate the necessary information, including the following:

(B) Legal and institutional framework for FSMS

(C) Inspection schemes

(D) Laboratory support services

(E) Food standards

(F) Consumer education

(G) Information network

(H) Stakeholder involvement

4. Conclusions

Every country has some type of a food safety management system at the national level. However, not all of these systems are effective and suitable for the purpose. Governments must establish the different components of the national food control system, determine the inter-relationships of these components and define and implement the responsibilities they have in ensuring the safety of food.

Every national FSMS must work towards the two major objectives of protecting the health of consumers and enhancing the competitiveness of local food products on both the internal and external markets.

National governmental FSMS can be effectively complemented by the food industry if all the stakeholders along the food chain build the necessary capacity for producing and handling food in a safe manner.

Safety conscious and dedicated stakeholders along national food chains will be in a position to promote consistent and safe food trade both domestically and internationally. This will increase domestic food security through the improved access to safe and wholesome food and the resultant rise in national incomes due to increased international food trade.

5. References

  1. FAO Regional Office for Africa. Commissioned paper Status of food safety management systems in African countries with recommendations for the way forward, L.E.Yankey, FAO Consultant.

  2. FAO/WHO Regional Conference on Food Safety for Asia and the Pacific, Seremban, Malaysia, 24–27 May 2004. Regional coordination in strengthening countries' participation and implementation of international food safety standards - CRD 9. National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand.

  3. FAO/WHO Global Forum of Food Safety Regulators, Marrakech, Morocco, 28–30 January 2002.

    1. Reduction of food-borne hazards, including microbiological and others, with emphasis on emerging hazards, Dr Claude J. S. Mosha and Mr Richard N. Magoma GF/CRD Tanzania-2.
    2. Food-borne Disease. Conference Room Document proposed by the World Health Organization, GF/CRD WHO-2.

  4. Second FAO/WHO GlobalForum of Food Safety Regulators, Bangkok, Thailand, 12–14 October 2004.

    1. Strengthening official food safety control services. Paper prepared by the FAO/WHO Secretariat); GF 02/3.
    2. Building a food safety system in Uganda. Paper prepared by Uganda; CRD 61.
    3. Food safety control services in Liberia. Paper prepared by Liberia; CRD 50.
    4. Epidemio-surveillance of food-borne diseases and food safety rapid alert systems. Paper prepared by the FAO/WHO Secretariat; GF 02/9.
    5. Developing and maintaining food safety control systems for Africa, Current status and prospects for change. Prepared by WHO Regional Office for Africa; CRD 32.

  5. Conference on International Food Trade Beyond 2000: Science-Based Decisions, Harmonization, Equivalence and Mutual Recognition, Melbourne, Australia, 11–15 October 1999. Assuring Food Quality and Safety: Back to the Basics - Quality Control Throughout the Food Chain, The Role of Consumers, Edward Groth III, PhD, Consumers Union of United States, Inc, USA; ALICOM 99/11.

  6. Report of the session, Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme, Codex Alimentarius Commission. Twenty-third Session, Rome, 28 June–3 July 1999.

  7. WHO Awareness Raising Workshop on Food Safety Concerns in the African Region, 4–6 December 2002. Bamako, Mali.


BSE- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
EU- European Union
FDB- Food and Drugs Board
FSMS- Food Safety Management System
GAP- Good Agricultural Practices
GHP- Good Hygienic Practices
GMP- Good Manufacturing Practices
GSB- Ghana Standards Board
GVP- Good Veterinary Practices
HACCP- Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points
ISO- International Organization for Standardization
KEBS- Kenya Bureau of Standards
MBS- Malawi Bureau of Standards
MDA- Ministries, Departments & Agencies
NCC- National Codex Committee
NCCP- National Codex Contact Point
NGOs- Non-Governmental Organizations
NSI- Namibia Standards Institutions
PHL- Public Health Laboratory
PPRS- Plant Protection and Regulatory Services
QA- Quality Assurance
QMS- Quality Management System
SABS- South African Bureau of Standards
SLSB- Sierra Leone Standards Bureau
TBS- Tanzanian Bureau of Standards
UNBS- Uganda National Bureau of Standards
ZBS- Zambia Bureau of Standards

Annex 1


S/NCountryLegislationMinistries, Departments and Agencies involved in enforcement and monitoring*
1AlgeriaPresidential Decree no 05–118 on iodisation foodMinistry of Commerce
  Executive Decree no 04–320 of October 2004 on the transparency of the sanitary and phytosanitary measures and obstacles on tradeMinistry of Trade
  Law on veterinary public healthMinistry of Agriculture
  Law on StandardizationMinistry of Industry
2AngolaLaw No. 5/87 approving the Sanitary RegulationMinistry of Health
3BeninLaw 84–009. Basic Law governing the control of staple foodMinistry of Agriculture
  Regulations on food imports and exports, Street food, food hygiene and labellingMinistry of Health and Food, Applied Nutrition Directorate
4BotswanaFood Control Act, 1993 (No. 11 of 1993)Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Trade, Tourism
Disease and Pest ActFood Control Unit
Permit licensing and Registration of Food EstablishmentsNational Food Control Board
Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board Act, 1974 (No. 2 of 1974)Ministry of Agriculture
Control of Goods Act, 1973 (No. 23 of 1973) 
Livestock and Meat Industries Act ( No. 32 of 1962 )Ministry of Agriculture - Permanent Secretary
Livestock and Meat Industries (Producers' Agents) Regulations ( No. 8 of 1968)Ministry of Agriculture
5Burkina FasoFood Hygiene Law 23–94/ADPStandardization & Quality Promotion Dir. & National Public Health Lab
Law no. 022–2005/AN regarding a Code on public HealthMinistry of Health
Decree no 2003–670 on the establishment of a general cooperation framework on food safety between the government/partnerships 
Control of Pesticide Law 041–96Ministries of Agriculture and Health
Standards Decree 98–296 
6BurundiDecree-law No. 1/036 of December 1989 providing general rules on control qualityMinistry of Trade & Industry
  Decree-law No. 1/16 of May 1982 regarding a code on public healthMinistry of Health
7CameroonLaw No. 64/LF/123 of November 1964 regarding the public health protectionMinistry of Health
  Decree no. 011 /CAB/PM of March 2004 on the establishment of an ad hoc committee on food safety 
8Cape VerdeDecree-Law No. 100/92 of 17 August 1992 regulating the export of bananas 
Government Decree no. 1/2005 on infant food public information campaigns, labelling requirements and the related information 
Government Resolution No. 6/2004 on the National Food Security Sustainable Strategy 
Decree no. 1/2005 on infant food public information campaigns, labelling requirements and the related information. 
Decree-Law No. 89/92 providing general rules for the quality control of nationally produced, imported or exported food 
Decree-Law No. 32/2003 ruling on rice used for human consumption 
Order No. 6/2001 approving the Regulation of sanitary measures to be applied on fish products 
Resolution No. 72/98 creating the National Agency for Food Safety - ANSA 
Decree-Law No. 12/2004 ruling on production, import, export, commercialisation and use of iodated salt 
Order No. 10/2001 prohibiting bovine importation from areas infected by BSE disease 
9Cent. African RepublicDecree 95030,1995 on Salt Iodization
Decree 040–1984 on import and exports
Ministries of Agriculture, Health and Trade and National Animal Husbandry
10ChadDecree 94/499 ruling on production, import, export, commercialisation and use of iodated salt in the Chad Republic 
  Law no 95-3 1995-02-18/PR on the restructuring of the national office on cereals 
11ComorosDecree no 82–001/PR on the establishment of a national bureau import and trade of riceMinistry of Trade
12Congo, RepDecree no 86–121 on the commercialisation of dry and salty fish 
13Congo, DRDecree no.364 of September 2000 establishing the list of the authorized additives in the fishery sector 
14Cote d'IvoireDecree No. 86–454 establishing the power of the government to the municipalities and to the city of Abidjan on veterinary public hygiene measuresMinistries of Finance, Rural Development
15DjiboutiDecree no2002–0226/PR/MERN on the regulation of the production, commercialisation and use of the salt of lac Assal. 
  Decree no2001–0010/PR/MCIA on the regulation of the water for human consumptionMinistry of Health
  Decree no97–0189/PR/MS - ruling on production, import, export, commercialisation and use of iodated saltMinistry of Health and Ministry of Trade
  Decree no2004–0130/PR/MCIA ruling on production and commercialisation of «bred of the people».Ministry of Trade
16EgyptOver 45 Ministerial Resolutions of MDAs concerning the obligation to a wide range of food items according to the Egyptian Standardization and Metrology 
17Equatorial GuineaN/A 
18EritreaFisheries Product Regulations (L.N. No. 40, 41, 105/1998) 
  Fishery Products Additives/Import and Export Regulations (L.N. No. 65/69 of 2003) 
  Heavy Metals Regulations (L.N. No. 66 of 2003) 
  Potable Water Regulations (L.N. No. 68/2003) 
  Regulations regarding Import Permits and Declared Goods (L.N. No. 78 of 2003) 
  Fishery Products Importation and Exportation Regulations (L.N. No. 69 of 2003) 
19EthiopiaQuality & Standards Authority of Ethiopia Establishment Proclamation (No. 102/1998) 
  Emergency Food Security Reserve Administration Establishment Council of Ministers Regulations (No. 67/2000)Emergency food security reserve administration
20GabonDecree 00766,1963 on Public HealthMinistries of Trade, Agric and Health
Decree 01574 on import and exportsDir. of Competition & Fraud Control
Decree no 834/PR/MAEDR establishing a national Codex Alimentarius CommitteeMinistry of Agriculture
21GambiaPublic Health Act, 1989 (Act No. 1 of 1989)National Nutrition Agency (NaNA)
Public Health and Fisheries ActsDept of State for Agriculture, Health & Trade
Regulations on Imports/Exports, Food Establishment, Food Labelling & Certification of Fish Processing PlantsNational Nutrition Agency (NaNA)
22GhanaFood and Drugs Law (P.N.D.C.L. 305B, 1992)Food and Drugs Board
Standards Decree (N.R.C.D. 173, 1973)Ghana Standards Board
General Labelling Rules, 1992 (L.I. No. 1541, 1992)Food and Drugs Board
Ghana Standards Board Certification Mark Rule, LI 662,1970Ghana Standards Board
Pest and Plant Disease Act 307, 1965 (L.I. No. 1541, 1992)Plant Protection and Regulatory Services
Pesticides Act 528, 1997.Ministries of Health, Food & Agriculture & Trade
23GuineaDecree D/2003/4/PRG/SGG on the establishment of a national commission on food safety and quality (CNSSA)CNNSSA
24Guinea BissauDecree No. 62-E/92 establishing sanitary food protection 
25KenyaUse of Poisonous Substances ActMinistries of Health, Agriculture, Trade & Industry
  Fertilizer and Animal Foodstuffs (Importation and Use of Meat Animal Bone Meal) (Prohibition) Regulations 2001 (L.N. No. 19 of 2001).Dept. of Veterinary Services
  Meat Control (Importation of Meat and Meat Products) Regulations, 2001 (L.N. No. 28 of 2001)Fish Quality and Safety Unit
  Sugar (Imports, Exports and By-products) Regulations, 2003 (L.N. No. 39 of 2003)Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service
  Tea (Packing) Regulations, 1999 (L.N. No. 41 of 1999)Customs and Excise Dept., KEBS
  Food, Drugs and Chemical Substances Act Cap 254Ministry of Health
  Public Health Act Cap 242Ministry of Health
  Standards Act Cap 496Ministry of Trade and Industry
  Meat Control Act Cap 356Ministry of Health
  Import Inspection DirectiveCustoms and Excise Dept., KEBS
  Radiation Protection Act Cap243Ministries of Health, Department of Public Health
  Liquor Licensing Act Cap 121Ministries of Health, Department of Public Health
  Meat Control Act 356Ministries of Health, Livestock, development and fisheries, Department of Public Health
  Pharmacy and Poisons Act Cap 244Ministries of Health, Pharmacy and poisons Board
  Animal Health Act Cap 364Livestock, development and fisheries, Department of Veterinary Services
  Fertilizer and Animal Feedstuff Act Cap 345Livestock, development and fisheries, Department of Veterinary Services
  Dairy Act Cap 336Livestock, development and fisheries, Agric., Department of Veterinary Services
  Fisheries Act Cap 378Livestock, development and fisheries, Agric., Department of Fisheries
  Pest Control Products Act Cap 346Ministry of Agriculture, Pest Control and Products Board
  Seed Act Cap 326Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services
  Noxious Seed Act Cap 325Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services
  Plant Protection Act Cap 324Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services
  Legal notice under Cap 318Ministry of Agriculture, Horticultural Crops Development Authority
  Science and Technology Act Cap 256Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, National Council for Science and Technology
  Agric. produce Act Cap 319Ministry of Agric.,
26LesothoPublic Health Order 12, 1970Ministry of Health and Social Welfare
Agricultural Marketing (Import of Sugar) Regulations (L. N. No. 176 of 1989).Minister of Agriculture
Marketing Registration 23, 1971Ministry of Industry, Trade & Marketing
Food Establishment Act 13,1997Ministry of Agriculture
Milk Hygiene Regulation 28, 2000Dept. of Chem. - University of Lesotho
Street Food Legal Notice 13, 1971Dept. of Chem. - University of Lesotho
28LibyaHealth Law No. 106Ministry of Health
 Standards Law No. 5 
29MadagascarFood Law, 1st August 1905 
  Ordinance 73–054 and 73–055 
  Ordinance 88–015, 1st September 1988 (Facilitate food product import and export)Ministry of Trade & Industry
30MalawiMeat and Meat Products ActDepts of Fisheries, Animal Health & Industry
  Malawi Dairy Industries Corporation (Establishment) Order, 1987. 
  Milk and Milk Products ActVeterinary Labs, MBS
  Public Health ActMinistry of Health and Population
  Meat Inspection RegulationsMinistry of Commerce and Industry
  Meat Marketing RegulationsMinistry of Agriculture and Irrigation
  Pig Grading Regulations
Public Health (Condensed Milk) Rules
National Quality Control Lab
Veterinary Labs, MBS
31MaliDecree no 01–175/pm-rm on capacity building against povertyMinistry of Agriculture, Ministries of Heath, Trade
  Decree no 00–183/p-rm on the ruling of the public services of the water for consumersMinistry of Public Health
32MauritaniaFood Regulations made under the Food Act 1998Ministries of Health and Trade
Decree no R-0017 on the definition of the elaborate product of fishingMinistry of Fisheries
Sale of Frozen Foods Regulations 1985 (G.N. No. 113 of 1985)Food Hygiene Lab and Cen. for Animal Husbandry & Vet. Research
33MauritiusEnvironment protection (Polyethylene Terephthalate) (PET) bottle Permit) Regulations 2001 (G.N. No. 33 of 2001). 
Food Act 1998 (Act No. 1 of 1998)Ministry of Health & Quality of Life
Food and Drugs Act 25 May 1940Ministry of Health & Quality of Life
Meat Act 3/665 November 1974Mauritius Meat Authority
Food Regulations made under the Food Act 1998Ministry of Health & Quality of Life
34MoroccoDecree no 1041–03 ruling the wheat vending conditions for the production, commercialization of flourMinistry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and Fisheries
  Decree no 738–96 ruling animal health (importation)Ministry of Agricultural Development
  Dahir no 1-02-119 promulgating law no 49–99 run the sanitary protection measures on animal production and the commercialization of poultry products 
  Decree no 1409–01 ruling precaution us measures in case of tuberculosisMinistry of Agriculture, Water & Rural Dev, Forestry
35MozambiqueOrder No. 56/2001 approving the Customs regime applicable to sugar import.Ministries of Development, Agriculture, Trade & Industry
  Decree No. 72/98, implementing the water supply policyMinistries Of Fisheries, Trade and Agriculture
  Public Health Act 11, Fisheries Law 3, 1990National Inst. of Standards and Quality
  Standards Decree 2, 1993National Food Lab
  Ministerial Order No. 120/87 approving quality standards for wheat, corn and their floursMinistry of Trade
  Ministerial Order No. 51/84 approving hygiene regulations for food handling establishmentsMinistry of Health
Ministerial Order No. 80/87 approving the hygiene Regulation on food importsMinistry of Health
Order No. 184/75 establishing copra oil as edible oil and defining its characteristics 
Order No. 23.964 defining sunflower seed oil as an edible oil and establishing quality standards 
36NamibiaPublic Health Act No. 36 of 1919Ministry of Health
Standards Act No. 33 of 1962, Export/Registration of FoodstuffsMinistry of Agriculture, Water & Rural Development
Cosmetics and Disinfectants Order No. 18 of 1979University of Namibia (Dept of FS & Tech) SABS
General Registration GN 121 of 1969Customs & Excise
Prevention of Undesirable Residue in Meat Amendment Act, 1994 (Act No. 11 of 1994)Prime Minister
Meat Act, 1991 (G.N. No. 220 of 1994)Meat Board of Namibian Agronomic Board
Amendment of Regulations relating to the standards of food, drugs and disinfectants (No. 124 of 1994).Ministry of Health & Social Services
  Regulations Relating to Grading and Classification of Maize (No. 71 of 1994)Ministry of Agriculture, Water, Rural Development
  Standards of Composition of Maize Products: Agronomy Industry Act, 1992 (No. 72 of 1994)Ministry of Agriculture
37NigerDecree 98–108, 1998 on Food Imports/exportsMinistry of Agricultural Development
  Decree no 76/MDR/CABon the promotion and organization of agricultural exportation projects implemented by decree no 77/MDR/CAB and decree no 78/MDR/CABMinistry of Rural Development
  Order no 35/MDR/CAB,2001 on the establishment of a Committee on food safety implements decree no 2000–147 ruling the rural development ministry assignments 
  Order no 09/CAB/PM/2001 establishing a committee for food safety policies 
  Laws on fraud control 1905Ministry of Public Health
  Gen Order 131, 1941 on the preparation of meatMinistry of Trade & Industry
  Order 3278, 1942 on imports/exportation of animals, Meat and other animal productsNational Public Health Lab
38NigeriaCounterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Food Decree, (Act No. 25 of 1999)Federal Ministry of Health
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (Amendment) Decree 1999 (No. 19 of 1999)Food and Drug Agency
Food and Drugs (Amendment) Decree 1999 (No. 21 of 1999)Food & Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC)
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Decree 1993 (No. 15 of 1993)Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON)
Public Health Ordinance Cap 164 of 1958National Codex Committee
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria Decree, No. 56 of 1971Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON)
The Animal Disease Control Decree, No. 10 of 1988Federal Ministry of Agriculture
The Marketing of Breast Milk substitute Decree, No. 41 of 1990 
39RwandaOrder no. 74/453 of December 1952 ruling the sanitary procedure on food amended by order 74/416 of December 1953 
  Order no 41–38 of March 1956 ruling the commercialization of Wheat 
40SenegalDecree no 99–259 on horticultural products quality and controlMinistry of Agriculture
  Decree no 98–554 on the establishment of a national food safety CounselMinistry of Agriculture
41SeychellesFood Act 1987 (Act No. 14 of 1987) 
42Sierra LeonePublic Health Act 23, 1960Ministry of Health & Sanitation
  Fisheries Management Act, 1994Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Marine Resources
  Standards Act 12, 1996, Registration on Food Establishment, Street Foods, Export & ImportsSierra Leone Standards Bureau (SLSB)
43SomaliaLivestock Development Agency Law (No. 34 of 1970)Secretary of State for Rural Development and Livestock
44South AfricaRegulations relating to labelling of alcoholic beverages (No. 109 of 2005)Ministry of Health
Regulations governing general hygiene requirements for food premises and the transport of food of 12 July 2002Ministry of Health
Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of South Africa on trade in spirits - November 2002 
Meat Safety Act, 2000Dept. of Health & SABS
Foodstuffs, cosmetics & Disinfectant, Act No. 54 of 1972Dept. of Agriculture
Health Act No. 63 of 1977Ministry of Health
Standards Act No. 29 of 1993SABS
Food, Drugs & Disinfectant Act No. 13 of 1929Dept. of Trade & Industry
Trade Metrology Act No. 77 of 1973Dept. of Trade & Industry
Regulations on Food Establish & Export/ImportCustoms & Excise Division
The International Health Regulations Act, 1974 (Act 28 of 1974)Ministry of Health
The Medicines and Related Substances Act, 1965 (Act 101 of 1965)Ministry of Health
Wine and Spirits Control Act 
Regulations governing general hygiene requirements for food premises and the transport of food (G. N. No. R.918 of 1999) 
45SudanEnvironmental Health Act 1975Ministry of Health - health authorities
46SwazilandPublic Health Act No. 5 of 1969Ministry of Health & Social Services (MOHSS)
  Slaughter House Act. No. 10, 1964Vet. Services Laboratory & Swaziland Meat Industries
Sale of Adulterated Food Act No. 25, 1968University of Swaziland (Lect. of Health Sev.)
Food Hygiene Regulation 1973Ministry of Enterprises & Employment
  Bakery Regulation, 1974Ministry of Enterprises & Employment
47TanzaniaCoffee Industry Act, 2001 (Act No. 23 of 2001)Ministry Agric & Food Security
Food (Control of Quality) Act, 1978 (Act No. 10 of 1978)Government Chemist Lab, Agency
Sugar Industry Act, 2001 (Act No. 26 of 2001)Ministry of Industry & Trade
Produce Export Ordinance 
Adulteration of Produce Decree (Cap. 109)National Food Control Commission
  Cashew Nut (Marketing) Regulations, 1996 (G.N. No. 369 of 1996)Ministry of Health
Fish (Quality Control and Standards) Regulations, 2000 (L.N. No. 300 of 2000)Ministry of Agriculture & Food Security
Tea Regulations (S.I. No. 92 of 1999)Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS)
Plant Protection Act 13, 1975Ministry of Natural Resources & Tourism
Public Health ActMinistry of Health
Fisheries Act 6, 1970Ministry of Fisheries
Vet. Act 
Standard Act 3, 1975 
48TogoLaw no 57–16 on the commercialization of local fishingMinistry of Commerce and Industry, Finance
49TunisiaLaw no. 117 concerning consumer protection, 1994 
  Decree no 2005–388 amending decree no 2000–2574 on the establishment of “Codex Alimentarius” Committee, its ruling, organization and composition.Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Finance Ministries of Health, Development
  Order on public health of March, 30, 2004, ruling the mother's milk substitutes list implements law no 83 – 24Ministry of Public Health
  Decree no 2003–1718 related to food packagingMinistry of Commerce and Industry
  Law no 92–117 on consumer protection 
50UgandaPublic Health Act, 1964Ministry of Health, Tourism, Trade & Industry
  Plant Protection Act 1962Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries
  Fish Quality Assurance RuleUganda National Bureau of Standards
  Import/Inspection of Clearance Rules, 2002Uganda Revenue Authority (Chemist)
  Standard Act, 1983, Registration on Food EstablishmentMinistry of Agriculture
52ZambiaDairies and Dairy Produce Act (Chapter 342)Ministry of Agriculture & Cooperation
  Food Reserve (Designated Commodities) Standard of Conduct) (Amendment) Regulations (S.I. No. 41 of 2004) amending Regulations S.I. No. 94 of 1996Ministry of Agriculture
  Dairy Produce Board (Establishment) Act (Cap. 350)Central Board of Health
  Dairies and Dairy Produce Regulations (Chapter 342)Central Vet. Research Institute
Grain Marketing (Acceptance Standards) Regulations. (S.I. No. 296 of 1969)Customs & Excise Division
Food & Drugs Acts, Cap 303Food & Drugs Laboratory
Food/Drug Registration SI 90/2001Ministries of Health, Commerce, Trade & Industry
Public Health Act, Cap 295ZBS National Food & Nut Commission
Plant Pesticides Act Cap 252 
Standard Act Cap 416, Registration on Exports/Imports and Food Establishments 
53ZimbabweDairy ActMinistry of Agriculture
Food and Food Standards ActMinister of Health and Child Welfare
Fruit Marketing Act (No. 55 of 1966)Ministry of Agriculture
Public Health Act (Chapter 15:09)Minister of Health and Child Welfare Advisory Board for Public Health
Animal Health (Import) Regulations (S.I. No. 57 of 1989)Ministry of Agriculture
Produce Export ActMinistry of Agriculture
Source of Information/DataFAOLEX, ECOLEXFAO Background paper for Global Forum by L. E. Yankey, FAO Consultant, Nov. 2004 Revised by E. Bonanno, FAO Consultant, Sept. 2005
N/A - Not Available

*MDAs not in any particular or specific order in relation to the enforcement of food laws for each country. Mandates and functions overlap.

1 Fact Sheet No. 109: Childhood Diseases in Africa. WHO. 1996.

2 An in-depth discussion of issues related to the safety of foods from the informal distribution sector in Africa, including street foods is available as CAF 05/4.

3 FAO/WHO. 2003. Assuring Food Safety and Quality: Guidelines for Strengthening National Food Control Systems. FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 76.

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