The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has earmarked 495,000 dollars to support the implementation of Nigeria’s food safety policy.
FAO’s Representative in Nigeria, Ms Louise Setshwaelo, made the disclosure at a workshop titled “Strengthening Nigeria’s National Food Control System and Safety’’.
Setshwaelo said the policy’s overall aim was to reduce incidences of food-borne illnesses and strengthen consumer’s confidence and greater contribution of food trade to economic development.
“It is within this framework that FAO and government has developed to support the implementation of the National Policy on Food Safety.
“Through the project being launched today (Tuesday), a total of 495,000 dollars has been provided by FAO to support the efforts of government,’’ she said.
The FAO Representative said the national food control system was an area that required improvement to guarantee food security in the value chain.
She underscored the need for an updated regulatory framework to facilitate enforcement of food safety, hygiene and quality standards.
Setshwaelo said FAO had been working with relevant institutions to improve on food quality as a means to improve public health and promote economic development.
She said food security was at the centre of FAO’s mandate, saying access to adequate safe and nutritious food was a fundamental human right of citizens.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr Linus Awute, said there was the need for strong patriotic commitment from both the leaders and the followers.
He said this would help to implement the National Food Safety Policy.
Awute said it was wrong to blame government at the centre when things go wrong, adding that it was a collective responsibility to make the nation great.
“Even though food safety is an international phenomenon, it still requires the co-operation from all stakeholders to address to achieve set goals,’’ the permanent secretary said.
He recalled that in 2007, 90,000 cases of food poisoning was recorded across 56 tertiary health institutions during which time about 200,000 cases of diarrhea took place.
“Food control system is therefore necessary to protect consumers,’’ Awute said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the workshop had in attendance representatives from organisations such as Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Others are the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), World Health Organisation (WHO), USAID and the Association of Food and Beverages and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE).
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