Policy Support and Governance Gateway

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Strengthening food safety and security in the United Republic of Tanzania

In August 2017, 61 cases of aflatoxin and 17 deaths were reported from five districts in the Dodoma and Manyara regions. The Government took immediate action to investigate the outbreak. Out of the 115 maize samples tested, 52 showed high levels of aflatoxin poisoning that exceeded the World Health Organization’s (WHO) threshold of 5 micrograms per kilogram of cereal and the Tanzania Bureau of Standards’ maximum acceptable limits for maize and groundnut. Maize is the United Republic of Tanzania’s staple food and is also prone to the development of mycotoxins, produced by fungi (e.g. Aspergillus). Aflatoxins can cause acute or chronic health effects, depending on the level and duration of exposure. The health effects that occur shortly after ingesting high levels of aflatoxin are severe illness and death. To prevent further contamination, awareness raising among maize consumers and producers was necessary to restore the food security of maize throughout the country. Additionally, postharvest technologies and agricultural practices were disseminated to further improve food and nutrition security.