Zimbabwe’s Seventh Food Standards Advisory Board Sworn In

By Michael Gwarisa

Health and Child Care Minister, Dr Douglass Mombeshora has inaugurated a 16-member Food Standards Advisory Board (FSAB), whose mandate is to oversee the production and distribution of food products in Zimbabwe.

The board’s tenure which commenced March 11, 2024, will run for three years ending 10 March 2027 in line with section 18 of the Food and Food Standards Act Chapter 15:04. Chaired by Mr Panganayi Hare, from the Law Society of Zimbabwe, the board members will also be representing their respective organisations and constituencies which have an important stake in food safety control.

Speaking during the inauguration meeting in Harare, Dr Membeshora said the appointment of the FSAB would improve the safety standards of food products in the country.

The Food and Food Standards Act [Chapter 15:04] was promulgated in 1971 with a number of amendments. The purpose of the act was to provide for the sale, and importation for sale of food in a pure state; to prohibit the sale, importation and manufacture for sale of food which is falsely described; and to provide for the fixing of standards relating to food and matters incidental hereto,” said Dr Mombeshora.

In the latest version of the Food and Food Standards Act Chapter 15:04, (FFA) section 18 of this Act authorises the Minister of Health to appoint the FSAB and its membership. In accordance with section 27 of the FFA Chapter 15:04 the Statutory Instrument 322 of 1995 (SI 322 of 1995) was gazetted which provides for the appointment of the new members.

Dr Mombeshora challenged the new board to continue with the good work of the previous board which he says managed to certify more than 90 bottled water brands. Several pre-mix suppliers were certified under the food fortification programme and more than 20 food products were also certified.

“There is outstanding work that you need to complete which includes revision of outdated food regulations such as the soft drink regulations and many others.”

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is a signatory to various trade agreements such as the SADC free trade, COMESA free trade, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) and other agreements with many nations. In terms of the World Trade Organisation Sanitary and Phytosanitary WTO SPS agreement, none of these agreements can override Zimbabwe’s trading partners right to impose SPS measures to protect their human, animal plant life and environment.

The board consists of Mr Panganayi, the Board Chairman, Mr. Freddy Chinyavanhu who is the Board Secretary from the Ministry of Health, Food Control, Mr. M.L Musiyambiri Technical Committee Member and Director of Government Analyst Laboratory, Dr. L Dinginya Technical Committee Member representing Ministry of Agriculture, Veterinary Services, Mr. V. Nyamandi Technical Committee Member representing Ministry of Health Food Inspectors, Dr. C Mujaju Technical Committee Member representing Ministry of Agriculture Plant Services, Mr H Njovo, Member representing Min of Health Nutrition Services, and Dr D Savadye, Member representing National Biotechnology Authority.

Mr Panganayi said they were ready for the task ahead and promised to deliver in accordance with their mandate.

“We have understood the mandate and what is expected from us as a board and we promise that we will carry out the mandate as expected from us. We will make sure that we will put Zimbabwe on the map regarding food safety issues,” said Mr Panganayi.

Other members include Mrs V. Mavetera Technical Committee Member representing the Health Officers Forum,         Mr. L. Murinda Technical Committee Member representing Food Industry, Mr W. Chabikwa Member representing Farmers Organisations, Ms B Murahwa  Member representing Food Industries, Ms T Matikiti Member representing Food Industry, Ms R Svosve Member representing Standards Association of Zimbabwe, Ms. Rosemery Mpofu Member representing the Consumer Council of  Zimbabwe and Ms R Chibanda Member representing Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Mr Chinyavanhu said they are going to be forming a technical committee which will execute the day-to-day activities of the board

“The board will be expected to meet at least once a quarter to deliberate on any issues that are at hand in terms of food safety control. The board is going to be advising other arms of government who have the mandate to execute their duties and the board will give the technical advice from our array of experts,” said Mr Chinyavanhu.

The board is also expected to participate actively and effectively in the international food standards-setting activities of CODEX, WTO SPS Committee, ARSO and ISO to keep up with international food safety standards requirements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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