Moshi — THE Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) recently conducted a workshop to enlighten its staff and stakeholders from Manyara and Tanga regions on how best to safeguard the general public and national interests from counterfeits and substandard goods.
Addressing the executives in Moshi over the weekend, the TFDA Northern Zone Manager, Mr Damas Matiko, said fake foodstuffs, hazardous cosmetics and medicines are crosscutting issues that should be dealt with from many fronts.
However, he said that the situation in his zone is good and what they always do is to exchange information with other zones from time to time so as to withdraw any unsafe products from the market.
"Our staffs and stakeholders in councils from these regions (Tanga and Manyara) are called upon to be very serious on enforcing the regulations and laws so as to ensure safe, quality and effective food, medicines, cosmetics and medical devices for all," said the manager.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the seminar, the guest of honour, Deputy Regional Administrative Secretary (Local Government - Kilimanjaro), Ms Grace Makiluli, urged the officials to make sure traders adhere to the set laws and regulations.
"Much as they want to make profits from their business, traders in this respect have to operate within the set parameters so that everybody is safe and country's economy keeps growing," said the secretary.
She noted how happy she was to learn that all other regions in the northern zone had undergone the same training and hoped the best would ensue in so far as regulatory of food, drugs, herbal drugs, cosmetics and medical devices in the country are concerned.
Participants included senior medical staff from every council and district in the two regions, including pharmacists, district executive directors and the executives who are responsible for inspecting drugs and other goods.
Among other things, participants were expected to study TFDA authority, delegate theories, success stories as well as challenges emanating from the same. They were as well to learn further on how to identify and control fake or substandard goods, how to manage revenue from foods, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices business in their respective councils.
TFDA has been working hard nationally to combat illegal foods and drugs business and time and again has been destroying fake, substandard and hazardous goods. The organisation has to continually monitor safety of food, drugs, herbal drugs, cosmetics and medical devices available on the Tanzania market.
However, some unscrupulous businesspeople have been taking advantage of existing loopholes such as formal borders and informal entry points to bring into Tanzania goods that are not of the quality standards required by TFDA. The dangers of consuming unsafe foods and drugs include getting skin infections, brain damage, liver, kidney, and even cancer.
It is the duty of TFDA zones to primarily monitor day to day operations, working closely with other government institutions, including the immigration directorate, the police force, the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and the Tanzania Bureau of standards (TBS) to ensure only allowed commodities enter Tanzania, and are distributed and consumed as per laws of the land.