May 19, 2009, 8:06 AM
The standards for adoption covered three main areas, namely cashew, sesame and groundnut; Iodized salt, smoked fish and packaging; and poultry products, beef and mutton.
The meeting, held at the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA), brought together participants to validate the draft documents for a proper working tool.
Speaking at the opening, Gambia Standards Bureau Director General Papa Secka recalled that the committee was formed about two months ago, comprising various stakeholders taking concern of board of directors on food standards in the country.
He also stated that the Gambia standards Bureau want to make sure the food standards of this country are relevant and in line with the international standards.
Mr Secka noted that there are ten food standards, along the food value chain that has been given attention to by the sub-committee that needed to be scrutinised to international standards by the food technical committee in the validation.
He also commended the sub-committee for working diligently with the support of the Bureau to come out with some of the recommended food standards along the food value chain.
Mr Secka further highlighted some of the standards that have already been Gazetted, which include standard on natural mineral water, edible fat oil, Gambia standards for rice, Gambia standard on groundnut, sugar, weed flowers, among others.
He said the next step is to engage the stakeholders and the private sector after knowing their important role, to sensitize them on what the standards are all about and to further utilize the standards to be used in The Gambia.
For his part, Malang Fofana, deputy executive director of NaNA, said the aim is to ensure the country improve on food safety and the objective is to make food safety available to the Gambian population.
In achieving this, he said, the stakeholders should ensure the right procedures are being followed according to the regulatory body.
He said that over the years the codex committee has worked tirelessly to bring stakeholders together to harmonize some of the food safety in both the livestock and animal health to improve food safety.
He added that the sub-committee has drafted ten standards on food value chain and are now waiting for reinforcement, which is a step in the right direction.
He then challenged the stakeholders to ensure safe food is achieved for the Gambian population.
Dr Omar Touray, chairman of National Codex Committee, lamented on the importance of reviewing the food standards made by the sub-committee, which is in line with the food standard procedure.
Omar Bun Njie, of food hygiene and food safety of the Ministry of Health, also joined the various speakers and highlighted the importance attached to the validation of a very important working tool for the Gambian population, noting that food safety is a crosscutting issue that needs collective effort to ensure the Gambian population has access to it.