Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) has moved in to regulate the poultry industry against veterinary drug residues after securing a $70 000 (about K50 million) Charm II, a system that provides comprehensive food safety testing.
Through this modern equipment, courtesy of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Malawi will be screening poultry and many other agricultural products of veterinary residual drugs in foods, thereby promoting standardisation and quality assurance of products and services.
The machine comes amid increasing food safety concern among one billion consumers of agricultural products in Africa, including Malawi.
MBS deputy director general Willy Muliya yesterday described the development as a milestone for Malawi.
“The wonders of Charm II cannot be overemphasised as Malawi will now be able to screen poultry and many of the agricultural products of residual drugs. The application of nuclear techniques in the testing
of veterinary drugs in agricultural products, including poultry, eggs and meat is important.
“You apply so many products in the chemicals to kill the pesticides on the animals, but the residues are harmful to the body when you inject those ones in excessive amounts,” he said.
Muliya said this in Blantyre on the sidelines of the African Regional (Afra) training workshop on application of nuclear or isotopic techniques in testing veterinary drug residues in foods.
He said Malawi is currently grappling with food safety issues and veterinary drugs; hence, the equipment is handy.
Muliya said MBS will be working hand in hand with the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development to inform and test these veterinary products of any residuals in the food as one way of improving food safety.
In her remarks, Charm II representative for African Region Anita Galas said the equipment is bringing modern technicques that are a sensitive and meets maximum levels for residues in countries worldwide.
She emphasised the need for African countries to establish guidelines for analysing raw materials and food products for local producers for domestic and export markets.
Food experts say Charm II is the choice of the food industry laboratories and regulators around the world because of the wide variety of tests offered and the system’s versatility, reliability and accuracy.
Many laboratories worldwide use the Charm II to screen products for domestic monitoring or international trade.