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The Food Safety And Quality Requirements forThe Importation of Pre-packaged Fresh Frozen Meat and Meat Products, (including offal)
Meat has traditionally been viewed as a vehicle for a significant proportion of human food-bornediseases. Although the spectrum of meat-borne diseases of public health importance has changed withchanging production and processing systems, continuation of the problem has been well illustrated in recent years by human health and also food safety surveillance studies of specific meat-borne pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp.,Campylobacter spp. and Yersiniaenterocolitica.
To ensure that imported meat and meat products, including offal, that reaches the consumer is wholesome and safe for consumption, the Food Safety and Quality Authority of The Gambia commonly called the Competent Authority must put in place the sanitary measures to ensure the wholesomeness and safety of the imported meat and meat products up to the point where it reaches the consumer ie the final point. The Competent Authority isestablished by the Food Safety and Quality Act 2011. The Act mandates the Authority to regulate the importation and export of food and feed in terms of safety and quality.
Importers must be registered and licensed by the Food Safety and Quality Authority.Importers will be issued an import permit annually specifying the Food Safety and Quality Requirements to be complied with.
Conditions to be complied with for imports of food and feed for placing on the market must meet the requirements of the Act and the Regulations developed under it. These requirements apply to the entire supply chain starting with requirements that must be fulfilled in the exporting country.
- Prior to the placement of an order to import meat and meat products into The Gambia
- The importer must notify the FSQA and obtain an import license
- The import license will state the quality and safety requirements that must be complied with
- Food Safety and Quality Requirements to be fulfilled in the exporting country
- The meat and meat products should come from Farms that are free of meat-borne pathogens;
- The facilities where the meat and meat products havebeen processed and packed must be export establishments approved by the Official National Food Control Authority / Competent Authority;
- The consignment must be inspected and certified as safe by the OfficialFood Safety Authority;
- The consignment must be accompanied by official inspection certificates issued by the Competent Authority of the exporting country certifying the products to be wholesome, safe and fit for human consumption, including certificate of laboratory analysis indicating acceptable levels of pesticide and veterinary drugs residues as per international (codex) guidelines
- Food Safety and Quality Requirements to be fulfilled on arrival of the Consignment at the Port of Entry in The Gambia
Further to the customs procedures, the following food safety and quality measures will be implemented by the FSQA Food Inspectors at the Port of Entry:
- The documents issued by the Competent Food Safety Authority of the Exporting Country will be examined / checked by the Food Inspectors at the Border Post (Ports) for authenticity and compliance;
- The consignment of meat and meat products will be inspected including the maintenance of the required temperature, labelling and wholesomeness of the packaging;
- Mandatory Labelling – The label of the product shall comform with the Mandatory Labelling of Prepackaged Foods and shall include the following:-
- The name of the product
- Date of Slaughter;
- Date of Packaging;
- Extremely important that the temperature is maintained throughout the supply chain including when transported from the port of entry, at the warehouses/storage facilities, distribution to end storage or the wholesale and retail outlets. It is the responsibility of the FSQA Inspectors to ensure all the supply chain actors comply with the good hygienic practices required by the Food Safety and Quality Act 2011 and the relevant regulations;
- The products can only be subjected to consequential re-packaging into small units (packs) and processing compliant with FSQA’s requirements.