Momodou Bah, Director General of the Food Safety and Quality Authority, has announced that The Gambia will soon have a fully operational food testing laboratory to enhance the authority’s work.
Speaking at a press conference organized by the authority at its offices at Kairaba Avenue on Monday 11th, September 2023, he said the authority is working tirelessly to finalize the frameworks on the regulations designed to ban the wrapping of foodstuffs in newspapers, and once these frameworks are ready the banned will come into effect immediately.
According to him, the lack of a full-fledged accredited food laboratory in the country usually pushed his institution to do testing of samples outside, noting that types of equipment supplied by Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) donated to FSQA are not put to full utility due to lack of specific components that needs to be in place.
“This equipment (FAO donated equipment) relies on standards and other consumables that must be present to keep it continuously running. That is unavailable now; we (FSQA) are working on that. Right now, procurement has been put in place to buy these consumables to be able to do our work,” Momodou Bah, Director General FSQA, disclosed.
“He added: We are trying to establish a full-fledged laboratory accredited in this country and will attain this by the next few months. This will allow all the farmers and all the authorities that need testing to do so at this laboratory.”
Dilating on matters of inspections and issuance of food certificates, Director General FSQA disclosed that inspection is a continuous process done by the authority in its quest to keep the public safe and secure, noting that inspection is a yardstick that needs to be conducted before issuance of food certificates to the operator.
FSQA Director General further assures the public of his institution’s resolve to keep all foods in the country safe through inspections and frequent monitoring mechanisms, noting that these efforts are paying dividends as the institution has started the prosecution of offenders through court actions.
He said the instruction is also well aware of specific incidences, such as the dumped food items littered in different parts of the country, emphasizing that FSQA has already taken its role in disposing of the dumped foodstuffs and has brought cases against specific perpetrators with the view to keeping the public safe and free from consuming contaminated and expired foods.