UGANDA – The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) is urging all schools producing their own flour to obtain UNBS certification in a concerted effort to enhance food safety measures in schools.

This initiative aligns with UNBS’s mandate to enforce standards, safeguarding public health and safety against sub-standard products.

The call was made during an informative workshop organized by UNBS and supported by the USAID Feed The Future IAM project, targeting school owners and administrators in Mbale district.

Schools milling their own flour are now required to obtain UNBS certification, ensuring compliance with stringent standards.

Additionally, schools have been advised to refrain from using generic ‘Super’ sacks for packaging. Instead, they should employ original packaging, complete with proper labeling including the manufacturer’s name, contact details, addresses, net weight, date of manufacture, and expiry or best-before date.

To further enhance food safety, school owners and administrators have been encouraged to procure maize flour and other scholastic materials from UNBS certified suppliers.

It is imperative that these suppliers maintain storage facilities that are clean, rodent-proof, and undergo regular professional fumigation to prevent food contamination during storage.

UNBS emphasized the importance of good personal hygiene practices among food handlers, urging regular medical examinations to ensure their fitness to handle food.

Food handlers must wear appropriate protective gear to prevent food contamination. Furthermore, safe storage practices, such as storing flour on pallets to avoid damp floors, are crucial to maintaining food quality.

Key procurement considerations

School administrators have been advised to scrutinize products for the UNBS Q-mark, date of manufacture, expiry or best-before date, batch identification number or code, country of origin, storage instructions, disposal instructions, and any precautionary information.

Sylvia Kirabo, the Head of Public Relations and Marketing at UNBS, emphasized the pivotal role of school owners and administrators in promoting quality products within educational institutions.

“As school owners and administrators, you have the power to promote quality products in schools by ensuring that products procured for use in schools, goods procured for sale in school canteens and those brought by parents or students, meet the standards,” she said.

The stakeholders expressed gratitude for the enlightening sensitization session and pledged to implement the practices they learned to guarantee food safety in their schools.

“I shall check the medical status of my cooks. I have not been doing that. I shall purchase uniforms for them, I shall put in place standard stores as you have taught us, I shall do the needful to establish or rubbish pits, washrooms and endeavour to construct incinerators for ladies’ waste disposal.” said Mudondo Annet a Head Teacher from Budaka district.

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