May 26, 2019
Health

Ensuring Food Safety in Nigeria

Available records show that food containing harmful bacteria, virus, parasites or chemical substances is responsible for more than two hundred diseases ranging from diarrhea to cancers.

Other factors affecting food safety include changes in the environment.

Also, increase in travel and trade enhances the likelihood of spread in contamination, this is why food safety in and between countries need to be strengthened.

Safe food handling starts at production and continues through the preparation process.

This is important, as unsafe handling at any stage could be dangerous to consumers.

For instance due to the nature of most people’s work, they depend on food vendors and cafeteria for their daily food supply but the condition of these outlets are nothing to write home about.

In addition, most abattoirs across the country are often kept in poor state with offensive odour emanating from them at all times.

This puts a question mark on the level of safety of meat butchered in such environment.

More worrisome is the fact that retailers of these beef often display them openly in market places with dust, flies and all sorts of germs contaminating them.

Apart from the aforementioned, some farmers in a bid to maximize profit use certain chemicals for preservation which are sometimes not safe for human consumption.

Individuals on their part have a role to play practicing good hygiene at all times through the use of clean utensils and surfaces that has not touched other food items.

In line with the fact that healthy people make a healthy nation as well as an asset to its development, efforts should be doubled to ensure food safety.

The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, should beam more of its searchlight on the food production chain to ensure that food is safe right from the farm to the table.

There should be recruitment and training and retraining of more inspection officers and they should be strengthened to do their work like in the seventies.

Abattoirs across the country should be monitored by veterinary officers while those who contravene sanitary laws should be sanctioned as a deterrent to others.

Food safety requires that any food item removed from the freezer and thawed should be frozen again to prevent contamination.

Owners of cold rooms should comply with laws regarding food safety.

It is advisable that people buy frozen foods from recognized and certified outlets.

Most importantly, farmers should desist from using harmful chemicals on the farm lands and produce to ensure safety not only for humans but also for the environment.

ANTHONIA AKANJI.

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