The Federal Government of Nigeria continues to show commitment to achieving food security within the next few years. While adequate food supply is vital to human survival, food safety is needed to avoid health risks from foodborne illnesses, which could be fatal. This is why we should all show our support for the establishment of a World Food Safety Day as proposed by the Joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission.
The FAO already adopted a draft resolution with a view to having the General Assembly of the United Nations consider June 7 as World Food Safety Day. If accepted, June 7, 2019 will be the first World Food Safety Day!
Why do we need a World Food Safety Day?
We celebrate World Food Day on October 16 of every year but we still need a separate day for food safety. Do you know why? It is because there is no point having enough to eat when the food poses a danger to your body. A World Food Safety Day will drive the campaign for safety at every point along the food chain. When awareness is increased, everybody become food safety ambassadors and people’s health will improve.
What do international food safety leaders have to say?
International food safety leaders have said they believe a recurring World Food Safety Day will increase consumer health protection and reduce foodborne diseases. In their words:
“World Food Safety Day will raise awareness of the global threat posed by foodborne diseases and reinforce the need for governments, the food industry and individuals to do more to make food safe and prevent these diseases.”-Ren Weng, director of FAO’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection.
“The World Food Safety Day will contribute to raising awareness about the importance of food safety among all relevant stakeholders including the public and private sectors and all actors in the food chain, from primary producers to consumers,” -Awilo Ochieng Pernet, chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
Codex member nations in the campaign for a World Food Safety Day
Many nations have been actively involved in the campaign for a World Food Safety Day. Costa Rica, one of the original sponsors of the proposal, stressed the ‘significant threat’ to health worldwide and obstacles to socio-economic development posed by foodborne disease. Interestingly, Republic of Korea already has a national Food Safety Day. Korea has been observing the importance of food safety on 14 May since 2002 (that is 16 years!)
How will this improve the Nigerian situation?
An estimated 200,000 Nigerians die annually from food related causes. More awareness will reduce these incidences. In a recent article titled, ‘Much Ado about Food Safety in Nigeria’, Jane Ezirigwe stated that there is poor data collection on food safety related outbreaks in Nigeria. This is a long standing problem that needs urgent attention. The time to start acting is now!
There is an urgent need to make food safety a part of ALL our food production processes. It should be enforced at all levels. Our most important production and processing standards should relate to food safety.
It is about time we stepped up our food safety business and what better way to display commitment than to support the proposed World Food Safety Day and work towards making it count.
What is your opinion on this issue? Kindly comment below.
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