FG Doubles Efforts to Improve Food Safety in Nigeria

Hon. Min. of Health, Muhammad Ali Pate

The launch which was part of activities to commemorate the 2024 World Food Safety Day is an added strategic measure to modernize and strengthen the national food safety control and management system in line with global best practices and standards.

Speaking at a Ministerial press briefing held on Friday 7 June 2024, in Abuja, Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, CON said that in line with the theme of the 2024 World Food Safety Day, “Food Safety: prepare for the unexpected” the Ministry was focused on preparedness which was evident in the One Health approach utilized in the updated policy.

Pate who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Daju Kachollom, mni, explained that the document adequately covers a spectrum of critical areas such as the principles of risk analysis, emerging contaminants within the food chain and the establishment of an integrated foodborne disease surveillance and response system.

He however, stated that implementation of the policy was not to be left to the ministry alone, and called on all parties at National and Sub-National levels, from regulators to farmers and consumers to always make informed choices setting an all-new benchmark for the safe handling, marketing, and sale of food throughout the Nation. He also announced the inauguration of four (4) Technical Working Groups (TWGs) that will serve as a conduit for improving the capacity of stakeholders across the food supply chain.

Highlighting some achievements of ongoing efforts, he mentioned that at the recent health security joint evaluation, food security which was one of the 19 technical areas evaluated, moved from “NO CAPACITY” in 2019 to “DEVELOPED CAPACITY” in 2024, a remarkable 40% rise. Saying this was testament to the fact that the country had evolved beyond curative medicine to preventive measures, health education, and community engagement, of which Food Safety remained an important component.

While appreciating the contributions of all partners especially the National Food Safety Management Committee, the Minister assured that the Ministry and its agencies in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. president, will continue to explore public-private partnerships, leverage technology, and priorities essential services for food safety.

Earlier, the Director Food and Drug Services, Pharm. (Mrs.) Olubunmi Aribeana, in her welcome address, maintained that food safety was a critical component of public health affecting millions globally.

Further stating that the World Food Safety Day served as a global call to action urging decision-makers, private sectors and stakeholders to prioritize food safety by working together to create a safer food environment.She therefore called on everyone to join forces with the ministry as it sought to build a future where safe food is not a luxury but a fundamental right.

World Food Safety Day was established in December 2018 by the United Nations General Assembly, following a joint proposal by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), Celebrated on June 7 annually, the day aims to highlight the importance of food safety and promote actions that assist prevention and management of foodborne risks.

Patricia Deworitshe
Director information