“Practical Actions to Promote Food Safety”

FAO/WHO Regional Conference on Food Safety for Africa
3–6 October 2005
Harare, Zimbabwe

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Rome, © FAO 2005


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The Joint Secretariat of the Regional Conference on Food Safety for Africa c/o Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses and Foodborne Diseases

World Health Organization
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E-mail Address: [email protected]
Web site: www.foodsafetyforum.org/african/index.asp?lang=E

Issued by the Secretariat of the
FAO/WHO Regional Conference on Food Safety for Africa, FAO, Rome

All cover photographs: FAO MediaBase


Ensuring safe food is essential for the protection of human health and for improving the quality of life in all countries. The importance of safe food, whether domestically produced and consumed, imported or exported, is well known by the countries of Africa. Many poor households in the region spend up to 70% of their income on food, so it is essential that imported and domestically produced foods are safe for human consumption and are not subject to fraudulent practices. In a region where food may not always be readily available, it is essential that the foodstuffs which are consumed do not cause illness as each food-borne disease outbreak results in a number of direct and indirect costs, in addition to the resultant human suffering. Many other diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, already affect millions of people in the region and receive a great deal of media and political attention. The effects of these diseases are further exacerbated by food-borne disease as persons with other diseases are more likely to contract food-borne diseases and vice versa. Furthermore, practices aimed at improving food safety also reduce food losses, thus increasing food availability. African countries can also increase their foreign earned income by exporting food products; however, these products must meet strict food safety and quality standards of the importing countries in order to gain access to the most lucrative markets.

Despite these well-known and important reasons, many challenges remain to improving food safety in the region. The countries of the region recognize the importance of developing practical actions and recommendations for capacity building to overcome these challenges and to promote food safety in the region. Accordingly, at the request of the 15th Session of the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Africa (CCAfrica- Kampala, Uganda, November 2002), following the guidance of the FAO/WHO governing bodies, in line with the suggestions made by the participants at the first and second Joint FAO/WHO Global Fora of Food Safety Regulators (GF1-Morocco, January 2002 and GF2-Thailand, October 2004), and at the decision of the group of permanent representatives of the Africa region to FAO in Rome, FAO and WHO jointly convened the first Regional Conference on Food Safety for Africa in Harare, Zimbabwe from 3 to 6 October 2005.

The conference brought together over 185 participants from 45 member countries of Africa, along with observers from two member countries outside the region and nine international governmental and non-governmental organizations to discuss food safety issues in the region, under the general theme of “Practical Actions to Promote Food Safety”.

The participants at the conference unanimously adopted a resolution recommending a nine-point Five-year Strategic Plan for Food Safety in Africa for adoption by FAO and WHO, along with the African Union, including numerous recommendations of practical actions to strengthen food safety systems in the region. It was generally recognized by the participants that although the convening of the conference itself was successful, its true success can only be measured by the degree of implementation of the strategic plan and the improved safety of foods produced and consumed in the region.


The Joint Secretariat of the FAO/WHO Regional Conference on Food Safety for Africa wishes to express its sincere thanks to all those who contributed towards the success of this conference, in particular to the Zimbabwean authorities for their willingness to host the conference and their warm hospitality. The Joint Secretariat also expresses its thanks to the co-chairs, rapporteur, and working group co-chairs for their dedicated hard work and the exceptional manner in which they conducted the conference; all those who prepared and presented working papers for the conference; those who prepared Conference Room Documents and those who made interventions during the conference.

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I.Executive Summary.
III.Opening Ceremony (Agenda Item 1)
IV.Designation of Conference Chairs and Rapporteur (Agenda Item 2)
V.Adoption of the Agenda (Agenda Item 3)
VI.Keynote Speaker (Agenda Item 4)
VII.National food safety systems in Africa- a situation analysis (Agenda Item 5)
VIII.Prioritization and coordination of capacity building activities related to food safety (Agenda Item 6)
IX.Informal food distribution sector (street foods and foods sold in schools): importance and challenges (Agenda Item 7)
X.Assuring food safety and quality in the small and medium-size food enterprises (Agenda Item 8)
XI.International, regional, subregional and national cooperation in food safety (Agenda Item 9)
XII.Proceedings of the working groups (Agenda Item 10)
XIII.Recommendations of the Conference
XIV.Adoption of the Report
XV.Closing of the Conference.
Annex 1:List of participants
Annex 2:Provisional Agenda (CAF 5/1)
Annex 3:Opening speech of the Honourable Dr P.D. Parirenyatwa, Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Zimbabwe
Annex 4:Opening speech of Mr Hartwig de Haen, FAO
Annex 5:Opening speech of Mr Chris Mwikisa, WHO
Annex 6:Opening speech of His Excellency, Robert Mugabe, President, Republic of Zimbabwe
Annex 7:Opening speech of the Honourable J. Made, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Zimbabwe
Annex 8:Keynote speech of Dr Edward S. Ayensu
Annex 9:Conference discussion papers
Annex 10:List of Conference Room Documents
Annex 11:Resolution on the Recommended five-year strategic plan for food safety in Africa
Annex 12:Recommended five-year strategic plan for food safety in Africa