• Stamp of approval

    Stamp of approval

    Plans are under way to improve access to food-safety checks among South African farmers via a mobile food-testing laboratory.

    Over the next three years, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the non-profit Mobile Agricultural Skills and Development Training (MASDT) are seeking to optimise the prototype for an accessible and affordable mobile food-safety testing facility for commercial and smaller rural farmers in South Africa.

    According to the CSIR, the aim is to increase access for farmers in rural areas to food-safety testing facilities for their produce. ‘They are located far from laboratories and the transport of samples to these laboratories is challenging,’ says Innocent Makuwaza, acting CEO of MASDT. He says the quality of samples is compromised through handling and transportation. As a result, these farmers are locked out of lucrative export opportunities because they cannot provide the required food-safety proofs required by rest of the supply chain.

    The facility, initially funded by the Small Enterprise Development Agency, will feature a customised laboratory information-management system, which will produce results in real-time on-site using digitalised and customised mobile testing equipment. The system will ensure that accreditation for testing is received.

    Image: Gallo/Getty Images
    29 September 2020