WFSD 2020: Stakeholders task Nigerians on safety measures in food productions

* Health of consumers essential in nutrition value chain ─POFAN President

* Governments should learn from link between COVID-19 pandemic and unhealthy food sources ─NLC Chief

* One in 10 persons ill after consuming contaminated food, as 420,000 people die of food poison annually —Report

Web Editor | ConsumerConnect

Following the commemoration of the World Food Safety Day (WFSD) 2020 at the weekend, Daniel Okafor, National President of Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria (POFAN), Monday, June 8, tasked food producers, especially farmers on the use of chemicals for food storage and preservation for safety purposes in food production.

On the occasion of the World Food Safety Day with the theme, ‘Food Safety, Everyone’s Business’, Okafor declared that poisonous food is a killer agent in the food system, and has remained a challenge in food production value chain in Nigeria and other economies across the world, according to Vanguard.

The United Nations General Assembly in 2018 declared June 7, World Food Safety Day, and was first observed on June 7, 2019, to draw global attention to the health consequences of contaminated food and water.

The POFAN President noted that farmers being important stakeholders in the food system in the country should ensure that appropriate safety measures are taken by ensuring that they trace every input they use during production and storage.

This, he stated, should be done and communicated to the manufacturers, country of origin, and distributors to ensure originality and detect fake products in the food value chain.

Farmers are to consider the health of consumers, which they are to be conscious of chemicals used for food storage and preservation for safety purposes.

Reports say that one in 10 persons take ill after consuming contaminated food, while 420,000 people die annually, which mostly affects children under five with 125,000 deaths recorded yearly.

The essence of the Day is to create awareness and make food safety everybody’s priority for a healthy society; from farm-to-fork.

Leading international organisations, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), were mandated by the United Nations (UN) collaborate in promoting food safety campaign, enlightenment, capacity building, and render support to countries of the world in food safety policies and measures.

“Today is the World Food Safety Day with the theme, ‘Food Safety, Everyone’s Business’ and it is worth celebrating,” Okafor said.

According to him, a poisonous food is a killer agent, and we must work together as farmers to ensure that what we consume and the ones we provide for sales to the general public are safe for consumption.

“Food safety is a very important topic that desires serious attention from all stakeholders in the food system which is a major part of human existence including socio-economic growth of the nation because we are what we eat.

“My candid advice to Nigeria farmers is as follows. First and foremost, I am encouraging my potato farmers who are members on Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria, POFAN, to know that they are very important stakeholders in the food system and should ensure that appropriate safety measures are taken by ensuring that they trace every input they use during production and storage period….

“Farmers should be conscious of whatever chemical they are applying on the cause of production to avoid high chemical residual accumulation as it is dangerous to our health and our life is endangered including the consumers who buy the food.”

He stressed that storage processes should be carefully handled in order “to avoid any form of food poisoning on the masses in the name of food preservation.”

Meanwhile, as Nigeria joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Food Safety Day 2020 Monday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has said it is important to develop and enforce global standards that will promote food safety from farm to the table. Comrade Ayuba Wabba, President of NLC, in a statement to mark the occasion, informed that “the global event, being marked for the second consecutive year, is aimed at raising public awareness on the need to protect our food sources from contamination arising from unsafe production, storage, processing, retailing and consumption processes.”

While noting that the objective is to promote public health and safety, Ayuba said: “The suspected origin of the current novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from a food wet market in Wuhan, China, is a very good example of the relationship between food safety and public safety.

“As it is popularly said, ‘we are what we eat.’ It is, therefore, important for governments all over the world to learn from the current COVID-19 pandemic and its association with unhealthy food sources.”

He further stated that “it is noteworthy that the Chinese government is taking this matter very seriously as it has reviewed its laws on food safety and food consumption going as far as removing some food items from the menu.

“We expect other countries of the world to emulate this. This requires global synergy as the food market has become one of the major markers of an increasingly globalised world economy.”

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