NAFDAC DG Harps on Vigorous Food Safety Culture

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The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, has called on all stakeholders in the food supply chain to adopt a vigorous food safety culture.

She made this call during the 2024 World Food Safety Day celebration, themed “Food safety: Prepare for the unexpected.”

Prof. Adeyeye emphasised the critical need for deliberate actions to mitigate food hazards and risks that compromise food safety.

“Food safety is not only essential for public health, but is also a sine qua non for economic development and food security,” she stated.

Highlighting the theme, she urged stakeholders to reflect on their preparedness for unexpected threats in an increasingly interconnected global food supply.

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World Food Safety Day, established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018 following a suggestion by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, aims to raise food safety awareness and promote cross-sector collaboration.

WHO estimates that globally, one in ten people fall ill and 420,000 die annually from consuming contaminated food. This situation results in the loss of 33 million years of healthy life, with children under five and other vulnerable groups in poorer regions disproportionately affected. Developing countries lose about $110 billion each year on medical expenses due to unsafe food.

The NAFDAC boss also noted that everyone, from farm to table, has a role in ensuring food safety.  According to her, the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has developed several programmes to eliminate, prevent, and control diseases, including the National Integrated Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Surveillance and Response.

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These guidelines, she said are vital for preparedness and rapid response to emerging and re-emerging foodborne diseases.

Mrs Eva Edwards, director of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN), also mentioned the economic burden of foodborne diseases and their preventability. She emphasised that food safety emergency response requires a multisectoral, collaborative approach. This approach involves the Health, Agriculture, and Environment sectors, various government tiers, and external partners, including non-governmental organisations.

She underscored the importance of integrating skills from different sectors to ensure a comprehensive investigation of foodborne disease outbreaks. The emergency response team should include epidemiologists, laboratory scientists, environmental health officers, and food safety control officers.

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The WHO and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are urging stakeholders to be prepared to address unexpected food safety threats. This involves developing or updating national food safety emergency response plans, strengthening national food control systems, increasing surveillance and coordination capacities, and improving communication with food businesses and the public.

1 COMMENT

  1. The NAFDAC DG’s initiative is a positive development towards ensuring food safety and promoting public health. Its success will depend on the active participation of all stakeholders, including the government, food producers, processors, and consumers.

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