Food Safety Assessment of Senegalese Markets through Mobile App Technology
Inadequate food handling practices and poor infrastructure across supply chains increase health risks to consumers, in addition to being root causes of pre-consumer loss and waste in the overall food system. Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS), implemented by Food Enterprise Solutions (FES) and funded by USAID, is a multi-country effort that works alongside agrifood actors to codesign and implement incentive-based strategies to accelerate the adoption of food safety practices in local food systems.
BD4FS focuses on food safety practices among growing food businesses (GFBs). GFBs are small- and medium-sized food businesses that connect producers with consumers at the retail level. In the spring of 2020, BD4FS completed a Food Safety Situational Analysis (FSSA) in Senegal targeting the artisanal seafood sector (FES, 2020a; Vilata, 2021). Interviews and field observations revealed significant food safety challenges associated with lack of cleanliness, improper handling, and inadequate cooling in this sector. These challenges put artisanal seafood products at risk of contamination from bacterial pathogens, viruses, parasites, heavy metals, histamine poisoning, microplastics, biotoxins, Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) (FES, 2021; Hatzipetro, 2021; Sene & Hatzipetro, 2021). The absence of a clean water supply emerged as a major barrier to cleanliness of fresh fish handling, processing, and selling; and inconsistent power sources prevent proper cooling.
To expand baseline knowledge of food safety practices in Senegal to other perishable foods, BD4FS initiated a rapid market assessment utilizing a local network of experts and data collectors hired by Premise, a company specializing in crowdsourcing data through mobile-app technology.