The World Bank’s report in 2014 on “Safe Food Imperative” found that the cost-of-illness of diarrhoea, attributable to food contamination, is about US$10 per case, with Nigeria estimated to lose about US$6 billion annually in productivity.
Federal Government in partnership with food safety stakeholders in Nigeria has developed the first-of-its-kind training manuals, which will be of great value in training farmers, food processors, marketers, and vendors on the need to ensure that food sold, marketed, and consumed is wholesome and meets national and international standards.
The training manuals which are: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System: Principles and Techniques; and Requirements for Good Hygiene and Manufacturing Practices along the food supply chain are the Ministry of Health’s desires to deliver on the goals of the National Policy on Food Safety and Implementation Strategy to develop the Unified Food Safety training.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire in his keynote address at the Ministerial Launch of Unified Food Safety Training Manuals on Tuesday in Abuja said in line with the United Nations Resolution on strengthening food safety, the Ministry of Health emphasizes Food Safety, as a serious element of public health that requires concerted efforts.
Ehanire added that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are among agencies and parastatals in the health sector, with the mandate to target reducing the burden of foodborne diseases.
Ehanire however, noted that the health sector cannot do it alone but rather food safety issues are handled with a one-health approach, where collaboration with the agriculture and environment sectors is essential, to ensure people only consume safe and wholesome foods.
Ehanire pointed out that those Unified Training Manuals are designed to fill a gap in the food safety control system by providing a curriculum on the principles and techniques of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point as well as Good Hygiene and Manufacturing Practices that can be used for training food processing industry employees, farmers, traders, transporters, vendors, and retailers, on the hygienic preparation, processing, and handling of foods, to ensure that food produced in the formal and informal sectors are as safe for consumption as possible.
“The manuals are designed to be simple and adaptable for trainers to tailor it to the specific needs of various categories of food handlers”.
“I must however remind you that we still have a way to go, but are on the right track. The Federal Government invested in the production of these manuals and will commence its dissemination and training of trainers soon”.
“I believe, it will ensure that basic principles of food safety reach the grassroots and:
Reduce the rate of preventable foodborne diseases; Increase consumer confidence in Nigerian foods; and Increase trade advantage for Nigerian foods in international markets, with no fear of rejection”.
“The Ministry of Health and the National Food Safety Management Committee looks forward to partnering with stakeholders and developing partnerships, that promote entrenchment of food safety control systems in all parts of the country”.
“This involves training food establishment personnel, and will scale up the competitiveness of indigenous food and food products at local and export markets.”
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