Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja
The permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Muhammed Bello Umar has revealed that food safety has a critical role in ensuring that food stays safe at every stage of the food chain.
Speaking while addressing journalists in Abuja on Friday to commemorate the 2019 World Food Safety Day; Umar lamented that not all foods consumed are safe for human health and daily nutritional needs.
He said that Food safety is the absence, or safe, acceptable levels, of hazards in food that may harm the health of consumers.
‘’Food borne hazards can be microbiological,chemical or physical in nature and are often invisible to the plain eye; bacteria, viruses or pesticide residues are some examples.
Food safety has a critical role in assuring that food stays safe at every stage of the food chain from production to harvest, processing, storage, distribution, all the way to preparation and consumption.
‘’Food safety can also be ensured through halal certification. Since Halal foods require rigorous production standards, consumers are beginning to see Halal food products as healthy, organic, ethical and “animal-friendly.
While stressing that every Nigerian deserve good, safe and quality agro and livestock outputs for consumption and should be globally accepted like their counterparts across the globe, he said; there is no better time than now to mainstream food safety into agricultural production to really diversify the economy by using agriculture as veritable tool.
‘’The quality control of our commodities starts from the field operations including land clearing, soil testing, seeds selection, varietal selection, chemical application, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) as well as postharvest operations which all fall under the mandates of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).
‘’To ensure quality of our agricultural commodities and to curb the issues of herdsmen/Fulani clashes, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has approved the setting up of Rugga communities in twelve states by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’’, he said.
He added that food safety is key to achieving several UN sustainable Development Goals, and this responsibility must be shared between governments, producers of food and consumers.
Earlier, the Director, Food & Drug Services Department Pharm M. O. Lawal in his welcome address stressed the need to do whatever it takes to improve the food safety practices in the country.
He added that over the past 20 years, Food Safety has become one of the major talking points in the health sector considering the negative and harmful effect of unsafe foods on children, immune compromised as well as the elderly.
‘’In recent years, the country has been plagued with preventable foodborne disease outbreaks such as Cholera, Typhoid and Diarrhoea, most of which are under-reported. These diseases are generally the consequence of poor food safety and hygiene culture in our country.
‘’As we go to our various places of business, I enjoin you all to be ambassadors of Food Safety in your community and environs. This will be your own way of assisting country in improving the food safety system and structure’’.