The 14th Meeting of the Food Safety Subcommittee of the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Coordinating Committee is taking place in Lusaka, Zambia from October 10th to 12th, 2023. AU-IBAR, is being represented by Dr. Hiver Boussini (Animal Health Officer). This gathering serves as a significant platform to address pressing issues related to food safety, the alignment of SPS measures, and trade barriers in the SADC region, with a broad array of stakeholders involved. The meeting is currently reviewing the Draft Report on the harmonization of food safety sanitary measures in SADC Member States, offering practical guidelines that emphasize consistency, health protection, trade facilitation, open communication, national interests, and stakeholder roles. It also advocates for the public listing of harmonized food safety measures.
Moreover, discussions are encompassing the Regional Reference Manual on the inspection, sampling, and analysis of food imports at SADC entry points to ensure compliance with food safety provisions. The manual is guiding risk-based inspection, sampling, and testing of food imports, institutional arrangements for credible inspection, and inspection and sampling activities at various stages. The meeting is also addressing the review of the Bureau's constitution and the election of officials, providing updates on SADC developments, highlighting concluded relevant projects, and featuring country reports from SADC member states covering policy, legislation, standards, technical assistance, international participation, transparency provisions, trade concerns, and unresolved non-tariff barriers (NTBs).
Progress reports from Food Safety Technical Committee sub-committees are being shared, offering insights into their respective areas of focus. Overall, the 14th Meeting of the SADC Food Safety Subcommittee is poised to be a pivotal event fostering regional cooperation, knowledge exchange, and collaboration. It is expected to make a substantial contribution to enhancing food safety, promoting trade, and strengthening the region's food security and economic development as it works to harmonize SPS measures.