Despite efforts made by the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) in protecting public health in the country, the authority is facing inadequacy of laboratory equipment something that hinders it from executing its duties effectively, it has been revealed.
According to TFDA’s director General Hiiti Sillo, the laboratory equipment the authority is missing is known as Gas Chromatography coupled with mass spectrophotometer (GC-MS) which enables the authority to identify and quantify pesticides residuals in food.
He revealed this during a visit of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the TFDA Yukiya Amano.
He said due to the absence of the equipment, the authority has to rely on qualitative results from test kits which may sometimes not be accurate.
He added that the absence of service and maintenance engineers for laboratory equipment in the country has also necessitated the authority to hire the service from technicians based in Kenya at a cost of USD 25,000 annually.
However, he said in the past nine and half years, the authority has recorded a significant progress in establishing effective regulatory systems, process and procedures, making it the best managed public institution for two consecutive years in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
The director asked the IAEA to consider supporting the Authority in addressing the two major challenges.
For his part the Minister for health and Social Welfare Dr Hussein Mwinyi apart from commending the support of IAEA extended to TFDA, he said that the government is proud of the success attained by TFDA.
He said since the establishment of TFDA almost ten years ago, the authority has managed to develop a comprehensive system to control food, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices so as to protect the public health.
He said so far TFDA has acquired international standard ISO 9001 certification, WHO pre-qualification and ISO 17025 accreditation; adding that this implies that the regulatory decisions it makes are acceptable through out the world and hence promote export and import trade of regulated products.
TFDA was established by the Act of parliament Cap.219 and started its operations in July 2003. It is an executive Agency under the ministry of Health and Social Welfare responsible for regulating the safety, quality and effectiveness of food, medicine, cosmetics, and medical services.