Only 20 out of 900 abattoirs in the country operate in hygienic condition, a Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) official revealed in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
TFDA Food Security Director Raymond Wigenge speaking during the opening of a two-day training for 80 small scale food processors from different regions in the country, said the situation put the health of meat consumers at great risk.
“A number of slaughter houses in the country do not comply with the rules of hygiene, such as being registered, but they have been supplying meat that we eat daily,” he said.
He said that currently the government is working on plans to improve the abattoir sector.
“Since the government is aware of the problem of a big number of unregistered slaughter houses, it has prepared the strategies to address the problem,” he noted.
Without disclosing the location of the unhygienic slaughter houses, he acknowledged that the government cannot stop people from eating meat only because of the unsafe and unhygienic slaughter facilities.
He advised the consumers to eat well-boiled meat in order to kill the germs.
In a related development, Wigenge called on vendors to observe cleanliness and to use machines instead of pieces of logs (as cutting boards) to chop up meat.
He said the move was to protect consumers from eating contaminated meat, especially from the chopping board.
“Hygiene doesn’t need capital …it is only for the people who do the business to ensure that they do it in hygienic manner …selling and processing food in dirty places means jeopardising consumers’ health. It’s high time for food processers to follow set regulations.”
Commenting on the training, he said TFDA recognises the small scale industries’ contribution to the national income, but also the harm they can cause to human health if the products produced do not meet the quality and safety standards.
For her part, TPSF Board director Anna Matinde said despite producing enough food in the county and processing it, the processors faced challenges in the business including lack of TFDA food registration certificate, premise registration certificates and the Tanzania Bureau of Standard (TBS) mark.
She said if issued with such certificates/permits, food processors could export their products.
“Crops are rotting in the farms. The producers can’t harvest and have them processed because we don’t have permits to export the products.
We are many in the country but you can imagine that out of 900 food processors, only 10 have been issued with TBS mark and TFDA certificates…” she said.
Matinde hoped that at the end of the training, participants would know the procedures to follow before applying for TBS mark, bar codes, labeling products, premise registration, registration of packed foods, hygiene at working place and food security in general.
The training has been organized by Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) in collaboration with TFDA to enable food processors to know the rules, regulations and guidelines of safe food processing as well as increasing of considering the proper rules in producing foods.