By Assan Bah
Mary Johnson, the Director of Regulatory Affairs and Enforcement at the Food Safety and Quality Authority, on Thursday 28th July 2022 disclosed that the Institution is advocating to have a laboratory to tackle the food safety challenges of the country, and appealed to Gambians to be consumer agents for the Institution, because they cannot be present everywhere and cannot do it alone.
Ms. Johnson made this disclosure and appeal at the authority’s Headquarters along the Kairaba avenue, when speaking on the recent ban of ‘Sniper’ insecticide use in the Gambia, following laboratory confirmation in Senegal of the presence of sniper insecticide substances in smoked fish.
Ms. Johnson said sensitisation will be carried out throughout the country particularly at fish landing sites, ‘lumos,’ or weekly markets at borders in order to stop this hazardous health menace; that the sensitisation will target women and those engage in the business. She said that her Institution in partnership with stakeholders have already developed a communication strategy on how the sensitisation will be carried out to create more awareness.
“We will work as key stakeholders, to enforce the immediate ban on sniper use, its importation and sale in the Gambia. Fish smokers will be trained on fish preservation methods as part of the sensitisation campaign. Sniper cannot be considered as an alternative because it should not be used in the first place. So we are advise women and all smoke fish vendors to use enough salt and water sprinkled on their products as the best preservative measure to drive flies and all other impurities away,” she said. She further told this reporter that FSQA is advocating for a laboratory to make their work easier.
This reporter visited the Bakoteh fish market to ask smoked fish vendors on the effects of the ban of the ‘sniper’ insecticide on their businesses, but they all denied using the chemical in their smoked fish and other sea foods they sell, and did not complain of any effect that the ban has on their businesses.