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Experts urge Farmers, Stakeholders to Adhere to Safety Practices Along Food Value Chain

Agricultural experts have urged farmers and other stakeholders to adhere to safety practices and ensure standards in food production, processing and marketing. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Country representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Fred Kafeero, stated this at a two-day “Awareness Creation Workshop on Codex Alimentarius Standards and Codes of Practice,” with the theme: “Safer Food, Better Health”, organised by the FAO, in collaboration with the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the Federal Ministry of Health. Speaking, Kafeero noted that the workshop would create awareness among farmers, processors as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on the use of safety standards in the food value chain to enhance consumer’s health.

Represented by the FAO Codex Programme Officer, Mrs SaAdiya Haliru, the Country Representative assured of FAO’s support to improve Codex standards towards attaining food security in Nigeria. On his part, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who doubles as the Chairman, National Codex Committee (NCC), informed that the workshop was organised under the Codex Trust Fund 2 (CTF2). Represented by the National Coordinator, Food Safety and Quality Programme in the ministry, Mr Atanda John, the minister expressed concerns that little or no attention was given to safety practice, quality and standards in food production, processing and trading. The neglect, according to him, has led to an increasing rate of food borne diseases worldwide and the rejection of food from Nigeria at the international market. His words: “The World Health Organisation (WHO) records that every year ,globally, an estimated 600 million people fall ill and 420,000 die after eating food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances. “Over 200 diseases are caused by eating contaminated food and the magnitude of public health burden due to food borne diseases is comparable to that of malaria or HIV/AIDS while the negative impact of economic and productivity losses cannot be over-emphasised,” Ehanire added. Remarking, Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk Salim, described the Codex food standards as international standard documents that will protect consumer health, facilitate global trade and economic development.

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