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Food Safety: Nigeria needs to embrace digital innovation- Minister



Food Safety: Nigeria needs to embrace digital innovation- Minister

By Franca Ofili

Health Minister Dr Osagie Ehanire said the country needs to embrace digital innovation with advanced scientific solutions to improve food security.

Osagie, represented by Minister of State for Health Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, said Monday in Abuja during a press briefing to mark World Food Safety Day 2021 with the slogan “Food security is everyone’s business ”.

He said the availability of safe and healthy food for all could be sustained in the future by embracing digital innovations, advancing scientific solutions and honoring traditional knowledge that has stood the test of time.

The minister said the global burden of foodborne illness mainly affects children under five and the vulnerable population.

“Food is a health product and the first component of basic health is delivery.

“Food is the basis of health and for this food to ultimately function as a health product for the well-being of people, food must be safe, therefore food security is a basic human right”, Osagie .

He said that in line with the theme “Safe Food Now for a Healthy Future” meant that producing and consuming safe food has immediate and long-term benefits for people, the planet and the economy.

Osagie said the country’s food system needs to produce enough food that is safe for everyone.

He said recognizing the systemic links between the health of people, animals, plants, the environment and the economy will help the nation meet the needs of the future.

Osagie said a risk-based approach to food safety requirements could help keep the global food supply open and enable consumers’ access to food.

He said concerted efforts on food security would help Nigeria mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, this will build long-term resilience by facilitating and accelerating food and agriculture trade and will help prevent the next zoonotic pandemic and transform food security systems.

Osagie said the main challenges facing improving food safety for all levels of government and society were lack of awareness, lack of data and information on the incidence of disease outbreaks. food-borne.

Others, he said, included a lack of understanding of food safety and quality standards as outlined in an international agreement and a failure to enforce international standards and global best practices.

Other challenges, he said, are insufficient infrastructure and resources to support scientific risk analysis and upgrading of the food safety regulatory system, an inefficient food supply chain and a poor food safety system. poor traceability.

Osagie said the ministry, with support from development partners, has built the capacity of food handlers and developed unified food safety training manuals for various food handlers.

Dr Walter Mulombo, Head of Mission and Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Nigeria , said that everyone, regardless of age, sex, health and economic status, has the right to right to have access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food.

According to him, a healthy diet ensures better nutrition, promotes the health and vitality of families and communities.

He said that globally, an estimated 600 million people, nearly one in 10 people worldwide get sick from eating contaminated food and 420,000 die each year.

“Therefore, in 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 73/250 proclaiming June 7 World Food Safety Day.

“Taking into account the global burden of foodborne illness, which affects people of all ages, especially children under five and people living in low-income areas.

“The resolution recognizes that ‘there is no food security without food security and this in a world where the food supply chain has become more complex.

“Any incident unfavorable to food safety can have global negative effects on public health, trade and the economy,” Mulombo said.

He said the theme emphasizes that producing and consuming healthy food has immediate and long-term benefits for people, the planet and the economy.

Mulombo said that recognizing the One-Health systemic links between the health of people, animals, plants, the environment and in relation to the economy would help Nigeria meet the needs of the future.

Although it is evident that COVID-19 has not been transmitted through food, the pandemic has increased attention to food safety issues, such as hygiene and antimicrobial resistance, he said. .

Others are zoonoses, climate change, food fraud and the potential benefits of digitizing food systems.

It also highlighted weaknesses or vulnerabilities in food production and control systems, he said.

Mulombo said that by recognizing that women are very important actors in promoting food security and household hygiene, WHO has trained 345 women leaders,

“In 2019, WHO trained 345 women leaders from Edo and Ondo states on food hygiene and household sanitation for the prevention of Lassa fever,” he said. (NOPE)


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