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I.Coast: Ramping up food safety measures to reduce diseases

A lab in Côte d'Ivoire's leadubg fruit juice producer factory.   -  
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Ivory Coast

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 91 million people in Africa fall ill and more than 137,000 die each year from eating unsafe food.

In Ivory Coast, the issue of food safety is not always regarded by business owners in markets and restaurants. Some residents say they’ve noticed the uneven quality of food.

"Well, on the market, there are certain things that are very good, when you buy and cook them, it's all very good, a young woman explains. But there are some things when you buy them, I'm thinking of meat and fish for example, when you eat it, well you really do wonder if there are products in it. You can pay fish, and when you go home, really, it tastes weird."

"I think that the hygiene standards of most food are low. We don't know how the food is handled and managed throughout the distribution channel. So, we can't really have an opinion on that," a consumer sitting down at a table says.

Emerson Aka, a quality manger welcomes Africanews inside a factory belonging to the leading fruit juice producer in the west African country, located in Bonoua, a city about an hour and a half from Abidjan.

A few months ago, the fruit juice producer was blamed by an internet user claiming the quality of their products was poor. The company's quality manager pointed to the protocols on their manufacturing process ensuring a good food hygiene.

"We are in a context in which the State of Ivory Coast sends on a regular basis inspection teams to control everything we do. The proof is that we are in the lab and at each step, we make controls. We comply with predefined standards."

"The products that come out of here are very safe products, I can guarantee that. We have a responsibility as we put the product on the market, it is intended for consumers and must be used properly, so that the consumer must know how to use it. If you leave a juice without putting it in the refrigerator for three or four days, well for sure its taste will change it is normal that the juice taste will change. So, there are microorganisms will develop. We wish to draw everyone's attention. Quality is everyone's concern."

The Ivorian government has made of food safety a priority. It is a major objective of the National Policy for the Development of Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Food Safety refers to handling, preparing and storing food in a way to best reduce the risk of individuals becoming sick from foodborne illnesses.

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