Embracing Resilience: A Call to Action on World Food Safety Day

This World Food Safety Day, under the theme “Prepare for the Unexpected,” we spotlight the critical challenges and innovative strides in combating aflatoxin contamination—a persistent threat to food security and public health in East Africa. At TradeMark Africa, our commitment to safeguarding our food systems is demonstrated through our extensive efforts to enhance food safety and facilitate regional trade by addressing mycotoxin risks, particularly aflatoxins.

At the forefront of our initiatives, through collaboration Global Affairs Canada, is the deployment of advanced ozone-based mycotoxin decontamination plants. Located strategically at the National Cereals & Produce Board (NCPB) warehouses in Nairobi and Bungoma, these facilities are pivotal in eliminating up to 98% of aflatoxin contamination in grains, pulses, and nuts. This state-of-the-art technology ensures that these staples are safe for consumption, compliant with safety standards, and free from toxic residues, thereby securing their nutritional value and marketability.

Embracing Resilience: A Call to Action on World Food Safety Day

Supporting these technological solutions, TradeMark Africa is deeply involved in comprehensive capacity building. We engage local farmers, traders, and regulatory bodies to enhance their understanding and capabilities in managing aflatoxin risks effectively. This includes training on pre-harvest and post-harvest strategies to minimise contamination, supported by the development and dissemination of risk-based food control manuals and industry good practice guides.

Our efforts extend to creating and strengthening strategic frameworks for aflatoxin management across East Africa. This involves support for harmonization of policies and regulations, making them consistent with international standards.

Through collaboration with global partners, we support strengthening of regulatory frameworks to provide conducive environment for trade and support enhancement of testing capacity of regulatory institutions.  We also run extensive campaigns to educate policymakers, farmers, traders, and the public about aflatoxins and the benefits of our decontamination technologies, aiming for a well-informed community that actively participates in improving food safety standards.

Looking forward, TMA is committed to scaling up these initiatives to achieve broader adoption of aflatoxin management strategies across the continent. We are actively working integrate aflatoxin management into national food safety strategies, ensuring these efforts are sustainable and tailored to the specific needs of communities across the region.

“Prepare for the Unexpected” serves not only as a theme but as a guiding principle for our ongoing efforts to ensure food security in East Africa. TMA remains at the forefront of this challenge, committed to advancing food safety technologies, policies, and practices that protect public health, enhance food security, and facilitate regional trade.

Together, with continued innovation, collaboration, and proactive engagement, we are building a food-secure future, safeguarding our communities against the risks of aflatoxin contamination, and enhancing the economic resilience of East Africa region and across Africa.

By Andrew Adewa

TMA Director, Standards and SPS