Foodborne diseases and food safety in sub-Saharan Africa: Current situation of three representative countries and policy recommendations for the region

This article examines the current state of food safety preparedness and response in three representative countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA): Kenya, Senegal and South Africa. We focus on foodborne diseases associated with the microbial contamination of animal-sourced foods. The results of our analysis indicate that governments in all three countries have official programmes to limit foodborne diseases and mitigate the effects of outbreaks. However, the population in these three countries continues to experience a high burden of foodborne diseases, and knowledge of the specific causes and mitigation of these diseases in SSA is lacking. Furthermore, there is a need for more and better food safety education programming, as we found no study that has collected a representative sample to estimate the level of public awareness of foodborne pathogens in any of the three countries studied. Evidence also suggests that institutional capacity around food safety in both the public and private sectors is insufficient due to limited financial investment and technical capacity. We end by providing suggestions for improving food safety preparedness and response in the region.