The Lusaka FSL held a training for market traders on food safety, storage and processing. Marketeers are key to preventing the outbreak of food borne diseases like Cholera.
Author: Mangiza Chirwa
Diarrheal diseases like Cholera and Typhoid are endemic to Zambia and break out almost every year in Lusaka. Statistics indicate that up to 15,000 children under the age of five in Zambia are lost as a result of the diarrheal diseases. They are usually associated with contamination of food and water as well as unsafe food storage and processing. The outbreak of diarrheal diseases is usually around the rainy season (November to March) each year. Also common during this season is wastage of seasonal foods and fruits that flood the market during this period. Thus, the Lusaka FSL held a 5-day training for 50 informal market traders on food safety, storage and processing to prepare marketeers for the approaching season.
The training was officiated by the Mayor of the City of Lusaka, Ms. Chilando Chitangala. She called for good food handling practices in markets as a way of preventing food borne diseases in the city. The Mayor observed that marketeers are key to preventing the outbreak of food borne diseases like Cholera. She noted that markets are essential in preventing food borne diseases as they are the sources of fresh foods. She was very pleased with HFA efforts in empowering marketeers with knowledge not only to prevent diseases but also to build capacity on how they can minimize food waste and contribute to the processing of seasonal foods.
The training covered topics such as Food safety and the Law where traders got more knowledge about what the Zambian laws regarding food safety are and how to adhere to the law. They also learnt about effective ways to prevent food contamination by category i.e. fruits, vegetables meat products and fish etc. The training also covered storage and preservation of foods as well as personal hygiene for the food handlers.
The training also included site visits to a storage facility to give an opportunity for the traders to see how foods are stored properly. Another site visit was made to a food preservation facility to show easy sun drying methodologies that can easily be used by the marketeers to prevent food waste.
The training received by the food traders on food safety and preservation will go a long way in combating food borne diseases as well as reducing food waste that is at its highest during the rainy season in Zambia. Healthy Food Africa has committed to promoting capacity building of traders in different aspects to improve the quality of food that consumers get in the target populations.