KENYA— Kenya has pledged its support to Codex’s initiatives aimed at ensuring consumer health and welfare, improving hygienic standards, and promoting an environment conducive to international food trade.

This commitment comes as part of the nation’s efforts to reduce the incidence of food-related illnesses.

The pledge was made during the 54th session of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH), held from March 11 to March 15, 2024, in Nairobi, Kenya, and co-organized by the US and Kenyan governments.

The five-day event saw the participation of notable figures, including Cabinet Secretaries Rebecca Miano (Trade), Susana Nakhumicha (Health), and Mithika Linturi (Agriculture), as well as KEBS Managing Director Esther Ngari.

The Codex Alimentarius, commonly referred to as the “Food Code,” was established by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization to provide standardized global food standards ensuring consumer health and fostering ethical food trade practices.

Kenya, a member of the Codex Alimentarius Commission since 1969, recognizes the vital role of the commission in creating global standards for food safety and quality.

Speaking at this first session, CS Miano emphasized that Kenya’s ability to co-host this event with the US shows the country’s commitment to the creation and application of international standards for food safety and quality as a member of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

She continued by saying that the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and the Ministry of Trade, Agriculture, and Health would work together to create high-quality standards that would guarantee food security and hygiene.

She added on the necessity of strengthening food safety procedures to ensure that Kenyan agricultural produce and food products—which are renowned throughout the world for their excellent standards—have access to international markets.

Health Cabinet Secretary Nakhumicha emphasized the importance of the food hygiene session in Kenya’s transition from curative to preventive healthcare.

She stressed the need for cleanliness, sanitation, and optimal nutrition to combat diseases stemming from food contamination, citing recent outbreaks like cholera.

She emphasized funding community education programs on proper food handling and storage techniques to prevent foodborne infections.

Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Linturi,  on his part, reiterated his department’s commitment to monitoring Kenya’s food production and ensuring compliance with global norms and hygienic practices.

He emphasized the importance of implementing Codex standards and fortifying the nation’s food safety infrastructure to guarantee access to high-quality, safe food for domestic, regional, and global markets.

KEBS Managing Director Esther Ngari underscored Kenya’s commitment to upholding food safety standards through rigorous market surveillance, ensuring high compliance levels for all food products supplied within the nation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 420,000 people die globally each year from foodborne illnesses, which affect about 1 in 10 people worldwide and account for 600 million cases annually.

Children under five years old are among the most vulnerable groups; they disproportionately suffer the brunt of the load, accounting for 125,000 deaths in this age group alone each year.

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