Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

29 November 2012

Tanzania: EAC to Harmonise Standards of Children Food Supplements

TANZANIA has taken steps in making sure the quality of children food supplements are rechecked ahead of the ongoing East African Community's standards harmonization grafting.

The move comes as the regional member states meet next month in Kigali, Rwanda to adopt uniform standards for foods particularly those suitable for children under one year.

Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Chairperson of the Tanzania Consultative Committee that is meeting to discuss the draft, Professor Joyce Kinabo from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) said the country need to present its position when EA experts meet in Kigali.

"We have to be well prepared as a country to present our position on the agenda since we are equally affected. Reports have it that there are food supplements in shops and supermarkets whose quality is questionable," she said.

Apart from business purposes, the harmonization will also guarantee quality of food products that are mainly served to children and infants who due to their age cannot consume hard food.

Earlier, the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) Manager for Process Standards Technology Engineer Tumaini Mtitu said the EA Standards for 'Nutrition and Foods for Dietary Uses' will be of great benefits.

She said groups of the foods in questions to be included in the standards harmonization process are milk based baby food, infant formula, follow up formula food supplements, vitamins and minerals and processed cereal based weaning foods.

"Nutrition in general is a key element in maintaining our overall physical wellbeing and is of special importance for children because it is directly linked to all aspects of their growth and development," she said as she read a speech on behalf of TBS acting Director General Mr Leandri Kinabo.

Therefore, she emphasized, standardization will act as a tool to encourage production of high quality and safe dietary foods for this special group. The process of standards development is endeavored to capture the principles as defined in the World Trade Organization - Technical Barrier to Trade (WTO/TBT) agreement which include aspects of openness, transparency, consensus, coherence, effectiveness and relevance.

The EAC has now embarked on harmonizing a number of standards in order to among other things, facilitate trade in the region.

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