The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ogun State, has joined stakeholders all over the world to mark and celebrate the maiden edition of World Food Safety Day, with an awareness rally.
Speaking at the occasion, the Project Leader and former Dean, College of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC), Professor Folake Henshaw, said the June 7, 2019 celebration was the inaugural celebration of the World Food Safety Day which is aimed to create awareness about the global concern of food safety.
She said the Addis Ababa Conference on International Food Safety Forum, with the theme “Transforming Knowledge into Actions for our Economy, for People and for Development was designed to put food safety into agriculture and development, adding that without food safety there is no food security.
Professor Henshaw highlighted the importance of celebrating the day in the university, saying that FUNAAB wants to contribute its quota to the Food Safety Initiative as a stakeholder by educating farmers, producers, processors and the private sector on the need for food safety because the slogan for the 2019 celebration is “Food Safety is Everybody’s Business”.
Her words: “FUNAAB is very critical in promoting food safety from farm to fore. That is from where food is being produced until it is consumed. All of us as consumers should know that food safety begins from the farm, from production to consumption all through distribution, storage and processing. Everybody must be conscious that we need to produce our foods safely so that at the end of the day, we can eat safe foods”.
The former Dean, COLFHEC stated that food safety is a global problem and not limited to developing countries alone, adding that statistics have shown that over 600m people die yearly from food borne diseases and 30% are children which necessitated the global action drive for all nations to develop and have better food safety management systems.
While confirming that the drive was a shared responsibility of all as consumers, she advised that “we must know healthy food choices, what you should do and how to make your food safe in your house”.
In his remark while declaring the rally open, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Felix Kolawole Salako, enjoined members of the University Community to imbibe the culture of food safety.
Represented by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Professor Lateef Sanni, the Vice-Chancellor decried the practice of adding herbicides on agricultural produce because it is hampering the nation’s export promotion initiative.
He charged farmers and practitioners to desist from using negative application of chemicals that are not wholesome on commodities.
His words: “Allied to that is product adulteration. Our people bring in food products that are adulterated. Some produce from our retail shops have been waxed with dangerous chemicals that can cause cancer.
These are the reasons that the World Food Safety Day was being celebrated to underscore the importance of safe food as a nation”.
The Vice-Chancellor urged all regulatory agencies like Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC) and Federal Ministry of Health (FMH) to stand up and do the needful to ensure that Nigerians have access to wholesome, safe, nutritious and sufficient food for the betterment of us all.
The United Nations (UN) had declared June 7 of every year as World Food Safety Day.
According to the UN, more than 200 diseases are spread through food daily while 1 in every 10 people suffers from contaminated food yearly.
The global agency added that around 420,000 die, with 125,000 children under five years old due to eating contaminated food.
It believes that everyone has the right to safe, nutritious and sufficient food hence instituted the day with the goal of eliminating hunger, ensuring good health and well-being and promote responsible consumption and production.