Lagos, June 19, 2015(NAN) The Nigeria Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) on Friday called on all stakeholders and practitioners in the food industry to support the newly-established National Food Safety Management Committee.
This is contained in a statement issued by the NIFST National President, Dr Chijioke Osuji, made available to newsmen in Lagos.
The statement said the committee must be supported so that it could coordinate and promote an efficient and very responsive protection of Nigeria’s food supply chain.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government on Jan 27, 2015 inaugurated two committees for the nation’s food safety management.
The committees are the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Food Safety (IMCFS) and the National Food Safety Management Committee (NFSMC).
The committees will ensure that Nigeria will be able to harmonise its food safety practices (from farm to table), thus minimising the incidence of food-borne illnesses.
It would also boost her economy by promoting the acceptance of Nigeria’s food exports in the international market.
The statement quotes the NIFST president as saying, “We must be proactive in supporting the regulatory agencies, especially through our members that work in such agencies.
“The newly-established National Food Safety Committee must be supported to coordinate and promote an efficient and very responsive protection of our food supply chain’’.
It said that the recent lead poisoning alert in Nigeria was a problem that was considered solved at a time, but which suddenly reappeared, this time in Niger State.
The statement added that this sudden reappearance was coming within weeks after the strange deaths in Ondo State, which was now suspected to be caused by methanol contamination of local gin.
According to the statement, both incidents remind food professionals and government of the gaps that may exist in the protection of our food supply chain.
It noted that unfortunately, official information on these incidents seemed quite thin as investigations are still ongoing.
In the statement, NIFST urged food scientists and technologists to take a closer look at these incidents with a view to initiating preventive steps in their various locations and areas of operations.
It said that as urban populations soar and industrial activities intensified, issues related to deliberate and accidental contamination of food may continue to be a source of concern.
The statement added that agencies should be aware that even when natural disasters occur in different parts of the world, it may lead to food contamination which could be worrisome due to importation.
It, therefore, stressed that the food safety committee would now be in a position to look into such cases as they arise. (NAN)