By Betty Amihere
Stakeholders in the animal and food sector have advised that except the current challenges militating against the establishment, hygiene operations and management of abattoirs are addressed, Nigeria’s chances of achieving a high level of food safety and quality of life may not be feasible.
Speaking at the 2019 Food Safety Symposium organised by Nigeria Agriculture Quarantine Services (NAQS) and Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) in Abuja, the guest speaker, Prof Morenike Dipeolu, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta painted a sordid picture of the nation’s abattoirs characterised by dilapidated and inadequate infrastructure and equipment, inadequate ante-mortem and post mortem inspection, poor abattoir waste management, unavailability of potable water, unhygienic transportation of meat carcasses as well as lack of data management and disease surveillance systems.
According to her, “Food animals in Nigeria are raised under harsh environment such as poor management and hygiene conditions, inadequate bio-security and disease control guidelines,” adding that there is a close connection between animal welfare, animal health and food-borne diseases.
To ensure food safety in Nigeria, Morenike called for implementation and enforcement of existing legislative framework to ensure food safety of animal origin, adding that there was the need to amend obsolete laws and make provisions for global changes or emerging trends in food safety and practice.
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In his address, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, Director General of NAQS, lamented the veterinarians over the years have relegated their roles and mandate to the society.
Isegbe noted that due to non-challant attitude of veterinarians, a lot of things have gone in the profession, adding that meat inspection is carried out by non-professionals who are not qualified.