The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has expressed her worry over the food storage system in Nigeria, describing it as unsafe.
The NAFDAC DG said this at the maiden edition of World Food Safety Day (WFSD) which was organized by Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate (FSAN).
According to her, some foods are contaminated during the storage process, adding that there are still major challenges of food safety issued in Nigeria.
Speaking further, she said, “in spite of aggressive efforts by regulators to contain the problem, some recurring food safety issues as well as emerging issues have been brought to focus, which and are being aggressively tackled by NAFDAC in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
“Artificial ripening of fruits using unapproved agents such as calcium carbide, which could have deleterious effects on health when such fruits are consumed and also, use of unapproved insecticides as sniper for preservation of grains by unauthorized persons are concerns.
“Again, another major challenge is the use of containers contaminated with hazardous chemicals such as fertilizer bags for grains or chemical drums and jerry cans for food storage. There is also the challenge of unauthorized use of chemicals for storage of grains and other agricultural produce by unauthorized persons, which could lead to contamination of the stored products.”
“Implicated in these practices also are exporters and dealers of agricultural commodities who spray hazardous pesticides on produce during storage to prevent damage by pests at the cost of human lives and public health.
“All these, among several other poor practices, unduly expose the populace and consumers to health risks from these contaminants.”
According to Adeyeye, “NAFDAC attention has been drawn to the use of trucks previously used for transporting fertilizers and other agro-chemical or other hazardous materials for transporting grains and other food commodities.
“Transporters need to take precaution to ensure proper line clearance and thorough cleaning of vehicles before use for transportation of food. NAFDA is encouraging transporters and all stakeholders along the food production and supply value chain to be cognizant of severe health hazards associated with such practices.”
The NAFDAC boss said food safety is everyone’s business, therefore, efforts should be made to ensure everyone actively involved in the food chain from the farm to the table play their roles as stakeholders.
“Food safety is a shared responsibility, so that the success of one is the success of all, but if one fails then we have all failed. To this end, I urge all stakeholders to embark on an aggressive public campaign on food safety and a multi-pronged approach is required including mass education and public enlightenment campaigns to tackle this menace,” she added.