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Nigerian authorities spread the word about food safety


In Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the National Food Safety Management Committee, organized a ministerial press briefing with the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, MD, FWACS to mark this year’s World Food Safety Day.

The 7 June briefing was followed by hybrid virtual and in-person panel discussions on topical issues, under the title “Safer food for better health in Nigeria - the role of governments (federal and states), development partners, experts, private sector and the general public”.

The discussions started with a high-level panel organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the World health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria.

Opening remarks covered “food safety as a key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals” from the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, an “Introduction to 2022 International Day of Food Safety and its theme” from the FAO representative in Nigeria and “World Food Safety Day 2022 Key messages” from the World Health Organization (WHO), representative in Nigeria.

There followed short remarks on the federal government’s efforts towards ensuring food safety in Nigeria from the Minister of the Federal Ministry of Health.

The discussion that followed explored ideas around “the state of food safety in Nigeria, measures taken to address it”, “food safety issues in agriculture”, “education to farmers in taking care of food safety issues in food production” and “efforts towards consumers’ protection against food safety concerns”.

A subsequent panel discussion moderated by Ayodele Majekodunmi, the National Project Coordinator of the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Diseases (ECTAD), FAO, was aimed at development partners, food and nutrition experts, policy makers, academicians, students, media, and members of the general public, among others. It “aimed at bringing together all the partners and stakeholders to share ideas on how we can ensure food safety in Nigeria for a better tomorrow.”

The events were also supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its programmes, USAID, Feed the Future and Mercy Corps. The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) in Nigeria, the Nigerian Association of Food, Beverage & Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) and the NGO RESOLVE to Save Lives also supported the event.

Further events on 8 June included sensitization in the Utako market in Abuja about food safety issues, with the Ministry of Health, the National Agency for Food & Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC), the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).

According to the WHO, globally an estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year. Unsafe foods are the cause of many diseases and contribute to other poor health conditions, such as impaired growth and development, micronutrient deficiencies, noncommunicable or communicable diseases and mental illness.

Consequently, in order to strengthen food safety systems in the country,  Nigeria have launched a  Unified Food Safety Training Manuals in 2021 and finalised the development of National Policy for Food System and Implementation Strategy (NPFSIS).

Read more in the Voice of Nigeria