Helping meat producers improve food safety

Cross-breed Pigs in Kiboga district (Uganda)

Cross-breed Pigs in Kiboga district (Uganda). Source: flickr (ILRI/Kristina Rösel)

Food can be a source of illness—from minor to serious—if not properly handled. Meat is especially susceptible to food-borne disease, particularly in countries that don’t yet have well-developed food safety systems in place. Under the flagship,  Prevention and Control of Agriculture—Associated Diseases, led by the International Livestock Research Institute, A4NH is starting to successfully improve food safety in Sub-Saharan Africa. A cluster of projects under this component support the intensification of livestock production. Specifically, these projects help producers of meat to better manage the safety of animal source food products—any food that comes from animals. This maximizes market access for the poor who are dependent on livestock and livestock products and minimizes the food borne disease burden for poor consumers. These projects adapt the risk-based approaches successfully used for food safety in developed countries and international trade to informal domestic markets where most livestock products are sold. Each project incorporates a participatory risk assessment (PRA) methodology in order to focus food safety efforts within each context.

The project’s outcomes, which were detailed in more than 100 papers, brochures, and conference proceedings, speak for themselves. Over 30 advanced degree (MSc and PhD) students were trained; half of them now work in food safety systems or in academia in developing countries. Additionally, a new MSc course was developed and a food safety module was drafted for graduate curricula. As a result of the project, more than 100 key decisionmakers were sensitized to food safety, and more than 30 studies building capacity for value chain actors in informal markets. Two impact assessments carried out to evaluate the project showed that the capacity building aspect of the project had important benefits and was cost effective. One spillover effect of these projects was the first-ever evidence on the importance of gender and collective action for food safety in Africa and the first estimate of the burden of beef-borne illness in Nigeria.

This website details the results of one of these projects, which looked at a pig cooperative in Kampala, Uganda.