Liberia Agriculture Development Activity or LADA and food experts brought into the country have warned of serious consequences if Liberia will not implement CODEX standards on food safety.
Speaking over the weekend at LADA’s Congo Town office, Dr. P. Vincent Hegarty said unless the standards are implemented, the country could serve as a dumping ground of unsafe food while food producers will not be able to export their produce for better income.
The US – based experts say while safe food may be costly, it is important for the country to not allow itself to become a dumping ground for others. CODEX is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, food production, and food safety.
Codex Alimentarius Commission is a body that was established in early November 1961 by the Food and Agriculture Organization or FAO, and was joined by the World Health Organization or WHO in June 1962.
It has the goals to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the international food trade. Having joined the organization since 1971, Liberia is yet to implement standards within CODEX.
Liberia has since 2011 been given a standard on food safety that is yet to be ratified. “LADA interest is to ensure that food produce in Liberia meets international standards and as a way of helping Small Holder Farmers, ensure that their produce meet acceptable [standard] … while being sold as made in Liberia,” the experts have said.
According to Dr. Hegarty Liberia has punishment and prevention as the tools were available to it, but suggested the need for use of prevention rather than punishment. The President of the Liberia Manufacturer Association Theodosia Clark-Wah also called for the setting up of a special body that will be exclusively responsible for food safety matter in the country.
She frowned at government’s alleged inability to make effective and meaningful use of the National Standard Laboratory, despite huge money pumped by the European Union for the acquisition of the facility.
Already, some of the consequences suffered by food producers in the country is that they cannot export their products for the lack of evaluations that qualify them for exportation to other parts of the world.
By Sally Gaye-Editing by Winston W. Parley