Food safety and quality

Promoting safe meat production in Africa


Different parts of the world have their own – often very culturally specific – problems that also require local solutions. A person who is acutely aware of this is Blaise Ouattara, Food Safety and Quality Officer at the FAO Regional Office for Africa.

Faced with a number of issues in this vast territory – from the often-unsanitary handling and preparation of meat to difficulties in obtaining potable water – Blaise and his team of on-the-ground experts work tirelessly to change things for the better.

“It can be a long process,” Blaise reflects. “Changing peoples’ ways of doing things is not easy. [Yet] we need to get everyone to have basic training on food safety. This is very important. You want to make sure that anyone that is processing food or handling food has training on good manufacturing and hygienic practices.”

“There are a lot of challenges … including the regulatory framework. Good food safety needs good regulations. We need to have food laws. We need to have standards. We need to have good inspection systems.”

One particular challenge Blaise faced was implementing good manufacturing and good hygienic practices in the slaughter facilities in Ghana.

It was a complex process – but after discussions with the authorities and the national association of butchers and meat cutters of Ghana on the urgency of improving the process, Blaise and FAO are beginning to see progress.

FAO’s most recent initiatives within the Ghanaian meat value chain have been a sensitization mission in the 16 regions of the country and the establishment of a digital database of the membership counting more than 2 000 members. Completed in December 2021, the database will allow for far better communication, education and guidance than ever before.

“We have also been involved with a project that offers remote training,” Blaise explains. Short training audios and videos are recorded in different languages that butchers can access on their phones.

Blaise hopes that similar initiatives can be rolled out across other African countries – where, in general, “the abattoir system is facing important challenges with regards to the production of safe meat for the population.”

“This work is exciting. It is challenging… but it is pleasing to be dealing with these challenges because you can see the impact of what you are doing.”


Read more about FAO’s work in Africa


Photo: FAO/Sam Jones

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