Assessment of Aflatoxin Testing Facilities in Zambia and Malawi
This report describes the outcome of an assessment on aflatoxin testing facilities in Zambia and Malawi during October and November 2011. The assessment was carried out by an independent consultant.
The objective was to assess the status of the aflatoxin testing facilities in Zambia and Malawi and their ability to provide commercially acceptable aflatoxin testing services. The report gives a summary of the outcomes of the assessment in Section 2 and also discusses the findings in more detail in Section 3.
The report makes a number of recommendations on possible interventions to address the shortcomings identified.
Aflatoxins are regulated in parts per billion (ppb) ranges, the measurement of which requires sophisticated equipment. In addition, for export, certification testing laboratories and tests need to be accredited by an internationally recognized certification body of which there are few in Africa. In Southern Africa there are significant gaps in the status of aflatoxin testing, which need to be formally quantified in preparation for formal interventions to address them.
The physical assessment of 8 aflatoxin testing facilities (4 each in Malawi and Zambia) took place during October and November 2011 to determine:
- The demand and supply for aflatoxin testing services, both current and projected
- The current capability of the laboratories in terms of:
- Facilities – are the buildings suitable to accommodate the laboratories?
- Laboratories – are the laboratories suitably organized and equipped for their operational activities?
- Equipment – is the equipment available suitable for the job, operational, maintained, calibrated and in general good condition?
- Personnel – what is the current training status of the personnel, are the training records available and are there future training plans in place?
- Management – are there formal documented management policies in place to support the activities of the laboratory?
- Funding – is there sufficient provision in the budget to support the testing facility, maintain, facilitate and expand operations, equipment and facilities?
- Capacity – can the laboratory handle the current workload with the facilities available; is there a need and or possibility to increase the current capacity?