Building a Local Food Safety Culture through Business-Led Solutions
Food safety for the small- and medium-sized enterprise sector has been largely overlooked in many low- or middle-income countries (LMICs). Not only is the consumption of unsafe food a major health concern, it increasingly affects domestic markets. Often, food safety standards and enforcement mechanisms in LMICs are more tailored to larger businesses in terms of affordability and accessibility. This paradox—lack of access to and resources for food safety enhancement paired with the fact that LMICs are most vulnerable to and at risk for foodborne illnesses—is one that must be adequately addressed through collaborative, co-designed and co-implemented initiatives that are contextualized to local needs.
Within this context, Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS), funded by USAID and implemented by Food Enterprise Solutions (FES), has been working since 2020 to make food safer and of higher quality by addressing postharvest challenges for growing food businesses (GFBs). The main goal of BD4FS is to implement a business-based approach to strengthen food safety practices along supply chains, with Senegal, Ethiopia and Nepal being focal Feed the Future countries. FES is achieving this goal through educational campaigns that support inclusive and sustainable business-led growth, strengthening the capacity of people and systems to activate positive action to reduce foodborne hazards, and by improving the availability of and access to safer foods for consumers—particularly women and children. To this end, supporting GFBs is a win-win from business, public health, sustainability and environmental perspectives.