EAST AFRICA – The implementation of the harmonized East African Community (EAC) framework has begun, intending to simplify cross-border trade in pre-packaged foods.
To encourage intra-EAC trade among the partner states, the framework encourages the adoption of a single standard, certification quality mark, and conformity assessment procedure in the registration, approval, certification, and clearance of pre-packaged food goods.
The development aims to provide a thorough, harmonized method to conduct regulatory safety controls for food items based on the principles of equivalence, harmonization, risk-based preventive controls, and mutual recognition, among others.
The unified framework will make it easier for regulatory and conformity assessment organizations to work together and coordinate their efforts to ensure the safety and caliber of pre-packaged processed food products.
It will aid in the promotion of mutual recognition of conformity regulatory control activities and results among conformity assessment bodies and regulatory institutions, in order to reduce technical trade barriers within the EAC, facilitate the free flow of safe pre-packaged food products on the EAC common market, and achieve effective cross-border trade.
The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) was designated as the national coordinating entity in Uganda during a national awareness workshop held in Uganda this week to align the execution of the framework.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Dairy Development Authority, and Uganda Revenue Authority are a few of the additional institutions represented on the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) for implementation of the framework in Uganda.
The 24th three-day meeting of the East African Standards Committee (EASC) held earlier in the year, emphasized the need for standardization and the removal of obstacles that prevent the free flow of products and services across the area.
The meeting, which aimed to promote trade among the East African Community (EAC) member states, was attended by the Chief Executives of the region’s national standards bodies.
The players from the bureau of standards in the six partner states came together to harmonize standards and push for mutual recognition of quality marks in products across the region.
During the three-day meeting, the quality and standard experts considered the progress reports from the EAC-established technical sub-committees.