17 April 2018

Uganda: Govt Gets Machine to Test Chemicals in Foods, Milk

Kampala — Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has acquired equipment to test for chemicals in foods, including milk, beef, and fish to ensure safety for consumers.

Acting UNBS executive director David Livingstone Ebiru said the machine, known as the liquid chromatograph mass spectrometer, was donated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to boost Uganda's capacity to detect agrochemicals in beef and other foods.

"The machine has enabled UNBS to build capacity to carry out screening and quantitative analysis of pesticide residues, antibiotics and other organic contaminates in various food products," Mr Ebiru said.

Mr Ebiru said the chemical residues had previously been undermining Uganda's export potential for food products such as beef, milk, fish, honey and animal feeds.

He was speaking at the opening of a four-day training on analytical methods for veterinary drugs and pesticides at UNBS headquarters near Kampala yesterday.

Mr Ebiru also said IAEA has organised a training for more than 26 African countries to ensure industries meet safety requirements for consumer protection but also to be able to access international markets.

Fish export

Citing a fish export ban imposed on Uganda by European Union in 1998, Mr Deus Mubangizi, the UNBS manger testing laboratories, said Uganda has had a challenge of proving whether its plant and animal products are safe.

"It's after we were able to prove that the fish we produce is safe that we are now able to freely export our fish to all continents," he said.

But Mr Mubangizi said there are still challenges of meeting safety standards set by the European market on beef products.

Observe intervals

In an interview with Daily Monitor, Mr Stephen Byantwale, the commissioner in charge of crop protection in the ministry of Agriculture, said farmers should observe pre-harvest and pre-consumption intervals after using pesticides or chemicals.

"To eliminate chemical residues, a farmer must apply the right product and dosage," Mr Byantwale said.

He said livestock farmers are supposed to observe pre-consumption time period prescribed by chemical manufacturers.

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