By Aderogba George
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has advised Nigerians to ensure that only safe and wholesome food are consumed by them for healthy living.
NAFDAC Director-General Prof.Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the advice on Tuesday in Abuja to commemorate the 2022 World Food Safety Day with the theme ‘Safer Food, Better Health’.
A statement by the Agency’s Media Consultant, Mr Olusayo Akintola, reported the Director General as urging Nigerians to always consume only safe, and wholesome food, to enhance boosting of the immunity and improving the body’s natural defenses in fighting diseases.
The D-G further stated that Nigerians didn’t need medicines if they ate right, and that eating right means making healthy food choices from safe, wholesome, and nutritious foods.
According to her, where food is unsafe, our nutritional goals cannot be achieved and that safety of food is an essential component of sustainable development.
She said that safe food contributed to the improvement of public health, poverty reduction, and increased food security.
She noted that the theme for the 2022 World food safety day was apt as the world gradually returned to normal with the COVID-19 pandemic having lost its firm grip on the world.
Adeyeye pointed out that the theme also aligned with the 75th World Health Assembly theme, which is Health for Peace and Peace for Health.
According to her, safer food indeed takes the front and centre position for better health and relative personal and world peace and that if one eats right, such person would not need medicine.
She disclosed that eating right meant making healthy food choices from safe, wholesome, and nutritious foods.
According to Adeyeye, the occasion of World Food Safety Day is an added opportunity for the Agency to create and generate awareness around food safety and make it as a significant issue of public health concern.
The D-G added that the 2022 World food safety day was relevant to us here in Nigeria as the large proportion of the foods we consume are produced by micro- and small-scale producers.
According to her, the small-scale producers include the smallholder farmers, street food vendors, the traditional, open food markets, and that these were important players of the country’s national food supply.
Adeyeye noted that their activities were of concern as regards food safety practices, adding that lack of it could undermine the country standard.
She said that the foods were frequently exposed to less than hygienic and sanitary conditions, which resulted in contamination and brings about incidences and outbreaks of foodborne diseases.
The NAFDAC boss disclosed that unsafe foods caused many diseases and also contributed to other poor health conditions such as impaired growth and development.
‘’We know that food safety is a shared responsibility, and everyone has a role to play in ensuring we have safer food for better health – from growers to processors, to transporters, sellers, buyers, and those who prepared or served food.
“Policy makers, educational institutions and workplaces, as well as consumers were not left out; food safety is the responsibility of all. We must all work together to help achieve safer food for better health’’.
“Our call to action on this occasion of World Food Safety Day goes to four groups of stakeholders namely policy makers and food regulators, food businesses, educational institutions and workplaces as well as the consumers.
She urged policy makers and food regulators to design all public procurement of food, such as food aid, school feeding and other publicly owned food outlets, so that consumers could access safe and healthy foods.
Adeyeye added that they should support policy measures and legal frameworks to strengthen the national food safety system and ensure it complied with food safety standards and regulations.
She also urged them to encourage and engage in multisectoral collaboration at the local, national, regional, and global levels.
Adeyeye said food businesses should also engage employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders to grow and develop a food safety culture; and comply with international and national food standards.