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The EU supports food safety control system in The Gambia

Apr 29, 2015, 9:48 AM

From 16th to 31st March 2015 an EDES support mission of Technical Assistance took place in The Gambia to strengthen the national food safety control system. The EDES Programme is funded by the European Union (EU) to the tune of €30 million, equivalent to more than GMD 1.5 billion. It is designed to contribute to the production of safe food in the ACP (African-Caribbean-Pacific) countries. EDES also aims to secure the flow of food products of animal and plant origin towards the EU or at the regional level. The ultimate objective of this programme is to guarantee food safety for all consumers, in the ACP and the EU. To achieve these goals EDES develops capacity building activities, mainly through training, technical assistance, facilitation or coaching.

The aim of the last EDES mission of Technical Assistance in The Gambia was to provide the Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA) with a new management tool to strengthen the performance of sanitary audits/inspections in conformity with the relevant international standards. The new database developed is intended to contribute to a better monitoring of official controls to protect the health of consumers. The food quality inspections are conducted within several producer organisations and therefore require the registration of technical data and a rigorous monitoring to ensure the appropriate follow up of the control activities.

The EDES mission provided the assistance needed in order to launch the testing phase of the prototype of the Inspection database. The EU funded experts had the opportunity to work with the control authorities on the design and the testing of the tailor-made database adapted to the local needs. This included the identification of producer organisations actively engaged in export sectors, their activities, and their production, to ensure that corrective measures demanded by the authorities will be implemented on time by each producer organisation controlled.

The main purpose of the database is to contribute to the safety of the food delivered to consumers in The Gambia. The database is also intended to increase the level of credibility of the Gambian food safety system to other foreign countries which are potential importers of Gambian products, ensuring that controls are well performed and that appropriate follow up is given to all inspections. In the forthcoming weeks the FSQA will continue to work on the development of the new system and the testing of the Inspection database prototype. After this period of testing the final version will then be made available to other ACP countries benefiting from the EDES Programme.

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