Bill to control food quality

MASERU — The days of shops selling rotten and expired foodstuffs could soon be over after cabinet last week approved a bill that seeks to ensure that only safe and nutritious food is sold to consumers.

According to a cabinet bulletin dated October 11 but made available to the Lesotho Times this week, the aim of the Food Control Bill 2011 is “to make provision for the supply and sale of safe, good quality and nutritious food to consumers within the Maseru city”.

The proposed law will facilitate the creation of a Food Control Advisory Board to advise the minister responsible for trade on matters relating to the trade of safe and wholesome food to the public.

The Bill will now be taken to the National Assembly for deliberation by the relevant parliamentary committee before it is referred to the Senate.

If the Senate gives its nod the Bill will then be sent to King Letsie III for royal ascent before it is signed into law.

The Bill gives the minister of trade power to appoint authorised officers to participate in food control work.

“(The) Bill establishes the Food Control Directorate, which is intended to take measures to suppress and prevent practices that are detrimental to food safety and quality,” said the bulletin.

It will give the trade minister powers to designate an official laboratory “to be used for analysis of food samples to ensure wholesomeness in food, meant for public consumption”.

“The bill makes provision for penalties to be imposed on defaulters and gives the minister the powers to make regulations to give effect to the provisions of law.

“The Food Control Bill 2011 takes into account the provision of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Annex of the Sadc Protocol on Trade,” the bulletin said.

The protocol deals with issues of food safety, animal and plant health regulations.

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