Federal Government has put in place strategies to improve food safety in Nigeria. The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi made this known on Friday 7th June 2019 while briefing the press on the maiden World Food Safety Day in Abuja.
Mr. Abdullahi said in most cases people eat foods that give them symptoms like stomach pain vomiting or high fever which sometimes lead to hospitalization and even death.
“High risk food such as ready-to-eat foods of animal origin and spices can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substance due to unsafe food handling practice,” Abdullahi said
According to WHO report, in 2015 foodborne diseases was found to have made approximately 600 million people sick and caused 420,000 untimely deaths. It was also reported that un safe foods has led to yearly productivity losses of about US$95 Billion in low and middle-income countries.
To address the food safety threat, Mr Abdullahi said federal Government has initiated the process that will guarantee the safety of food by launching the National Policy on Food Safety and its Implementation Strategy. He added that two Committees consisting of representatives from the public, private and academic were also inaugurated to ensure food safety in Nigeria.
Abdullahi said that the Food Safety stakeholders under auspice of National Food Safety Management Committee develop National Food Safety and Quality Bill and was approve by Federal Executive Council, now currently at the National Assembly for passage in to law.
“This Bill is expected to usher in a new era of food control in the country where all tiers of government and MDS will work together alongside the organized Private Sectors to ensure the wholesomeness of our foods” he said
He said that Federal Ministry of Health is working with State Ministries of Health and Agricultural as well as the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria to further strengthen the work of Environmental Health Officers across the States
He noted that the Federal Ministry of Health has also empowered the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to undertake more effectively its mandate in the regulation of process and package foods in the country.
Speaking during the event, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Representative in Nigeria His Excellency Suffyan Koroma represented by Alphonsus Onwuemeka, Programme Officer SDG, FAO called on the members of the National Assembly to pass the Food Safety Bill and its Implementation Strategy in to law.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Muhammed Bello Umar, Represented by Dr. Maimunat Habib, Director Project Coordinating Unit said that quality control of commodities starts from the field operations including land clearing, soil testing, seeds selection, varietal selection, chemical application as well as postharvest operations which all fall under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Food safety is key to achieving several United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and this responsibility must be shared between governments, producers of food and consumers” Dr. Umar said.