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EU FVO inspectors highlight continued shortcomings in Botswana’s food safety system

September 12, 2013

A report was published in June by the EUs Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) on its inspection of Botswanas animal disease control regime in March 2013. The audit was undertaken in association with the EC Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (also known as SANCO). The FVO report noted that significant improvements have been made by the Botswana authorities regarding the identification and registration system of bovine animals, thus allowing compliance with EU cattle residency requirements to be verified (i.e. guaranteeing that cattle have resided for a minimum of 40 days on the last holding before slaughter, and for 90 days in an EU-approved part of the territory), and enabling exports to the EU to take place. In addition, it is noted that central loading areas, which are comparable with assembly centres, are no longer used for sending EU eligible cattle to EU approved slaughterhouses.

The report did, however, identify a number of deficiencies, most notably involving discrepancies between the registration of animals in the Livestock Identification and Traceability System (LITS) compared with the actual animals present at livestock holdings as well as the absence of official controls on the registration of cattle, and the unreliability of the system for monitoring cattle movements.

While establishments listed for export to the EU met EU requirements in general, shortcomings were noted in the control of microbiological criteria for food products. Carcasses regularly tested positive for salmonella, but no adequate remedial action was being taken by the food operator or the competent authority in Botswana. It was concluded that significant investment was required to upgrade the establishment in question to EU standards.

The report also noted weaknesses in the enforcement of official controls related to EU requirements for record-keeping on the use of veterinary products.

A number of recommendations were made to the competent authority in Botswana for addressing the deficiencies identified. Overall, the FVO audit concluded that the Botswana authorities made a huge effort to strengthen the official controls since the last FVO audit in Botswana in 2011, but that deficiencies remained.