Consumer Rights Day is celebrated world over in March annually around a particular theme and today we are focusing on antibiotics off the menu.
Zimbabwe has taken an active role in Consumer protection and as we speak has presented a drafted a consumer protection bill and hopefully after tabling the bill before parliament it will sail through.
This year CCZ is focus on no human medicine in food which in turn causes Antibiotic resistance (AMR). Growing antibiotic resistance is caused by overuse of antibiotics. Around half of the antibiotics produced globally are used in agriculture which is then taken as food by humans.
Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that, without urgent action we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which important medicines stop working and common infections and minor injuries can once again kill. In Zimbabwe we only have KFC which is one of the major buyers of products with antibiotics but other countries have food outlets like McDonalds and many others which are major processers and distributors of genetically produced foods.
We are however not safe for a long time because Zimbabwe’s problem will increase by 2030 because there is widespread routine dosing of farm animals and crops with antibiotics to promote growth and produce the ‘perfect’ product for the consumer.
We therefore need to protect our food and health through awareness raising and making sure rights of consumers are respected.
As a country we are still grappling with fully feeding the population but let’s do it with cautions.
Our hope today is that the panel speakers lined up would be able to guide us through the deliberations and we will start thinking about it and spreading the word.