Nigeria will come June 7,2021 join the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s World Food Safety Day.
In light of this, the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Academy of Nigeria (HAN), the first food safety institute in the country, will be marking the day with a lineup of activities to create awareness on the need for Nigerians to be more conscious of what they consume.
Dr. James Marsh, Executive Director of HAN, in an interview with Daily Independent, said the need to create awareness on food safety is extremely important for Nigeria as a whole because there are lots of issues relating to food safety in the country, right from the farm to the table.
Marsh said all hands must be on deck and everyone must be involved, as a lot of people die every day eating contaminated foods.
He said that every incident of food-related ailments or food-borne diseases are preventable, adding that this is why all must work together to ensure that food consumed by Nigerians are safe and in good condition.
“This year, HAN has decided to take it up and drive this. We need to sensitise as many Nigerians as possible so that they can be cognisant of what food-borne illness is and what they need to do to protect their families.
He noted that the government needs to be more proactive, adding that though it is trying its best, it needs to work with technocrats and engage the academia, food scientists and all stakeholders to work together so as to proffer solutions to the various challenges the country is facing as regarding food safety.
According to him, “The government must engage everyone to be part of it, so as to ensure that what we are putting out as food for our people is safe. The government alone cannot do it and that is why they must work with all. On the individual side, they must be cognizant of what they buy to eat, and the way they handle their foods. It takes orientation and education on a daily basis.”
Speaking further, Marsh said Nigeria has the lowest life expectancy in the Sub-Saharan region, adding that this can be attributed to what they consume.
“The Food Safety Day opens yet another opportunity to carry out massive awareness and campaign for safer food handling and production in Nigeria. We in HAN are partnering with well-established food and agriculture industries all over Nigeria to help with the awareness campaign on the Food Safety Day.
“We believe that working together will help push this mission of safer foods now for a healthier and better Nigeria.”
However, speaking on the activities to mark the week-long campaign scheduled to celebrate the day, Marsh stated that it will begin on Tuesday, June 1, to Monday, June 7,2021.
He said the campaign will begin with visits to some farms, visits to logistics companies responsible for transporting produce, visits to various schools and food manufacturing plants such as restaurants, grocery stores and supermarkets.
Other places to be visited, according to Marsh, are some abattoirs in the state and fish markets.
He added that at the various places that would be visited; there would be some forms of sensitisation and enlightenment on how to do what they are doing better.
“We will visit some farms where everything starts, and see how they do their thing; we will educate them on what they need to do to improve on what they are doing. After that, we will go to the markets where the foods are being sold and we look at the conditions of the market and proffer solutions.”
He added that at the end, there would be a food safety awareness walk and a symposium to wrap-up the event.
Also, Adebisi Adeshola, team lead at the Meat Mill, a meat company in Nigeria, stated that it is a good start to join the rest of the world to celebrate the day and have awareness about food safety.
She said it is important for all to be conscious about food safety starting from the farms through all the value chains to the final consumer.