The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in its drive to ensure safe, nutritious and affordable foods for all Nigerians is supporting the enactment and passage of a food safety and Quality Bill and joins people all across the world to celebrate the World Food Safety Day.
The World Food Safety Day is celebrated annually on 7 June to draw attention and mobilize action to prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks and improve human health. The theme for this year’s World Food Safety Day is “Safer food, better health” and it aims to organise and inspire people all across the world to participate and be actively involved in ensuring the availability and consumption of safe, nutritious and affordable foods.
Safe food is one of the most critical guarantors for good health. Unsafe foods are the cause of many diseases and contribute to other poor health conditions, such as impaired growth and development, micronutrient deficiencies, noncommunicable or communicable diseases and mental illness. Globally, one in ten people are affected by foodborne diseases annually.
Modernisation and its impact on food safety have increasingly become an essential factor in governance due to its effects on public health, agriculture, trade and investment, poverty, hunger and tourism. In Nigeria, the food value chain (Farm-to-Fork) is undergoing a considerable transformation as Government intensifies its efforts to improve safety by reviewing and updating critical components of the national food safety control system.
Through the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable (NASSBER), the Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA), together with AGRA, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID, the NESG has been collaborating with the Federal ministry of health and other relevant ministries and agencies of government to support the enaction of legislation that will support and enhance food safety and security for Nigeria.
Ensuring a high level of food safety and quality is necessary to provide adequate protection for consumers. Unsafe and poor-quality food products negatively impact the economy and public well-being, which justifies government intervention in every country to ensure food safety. As a result of this, the NESG went on a sensitization and fact-finding mission across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. The states visited across Nigeria’s six geo political zones include Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Borno, Kano, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The passage and implementation of the Food safety and quality bill will ensure the protection of the health of consumers from hazards which may be present in food and animal feed. The bill also seeks to establish the general principles of official control of food and feed safety, the obligations of food and feed business operators; and define the functions and powers of institutions of Federal and State Governments with the objective of ensuring that food and feed safety risks are effectively managed and that food is of the nature, substance and quality expected by the consumer.
The NESG will continue to partner with stakeholders in the agricultural ecosystem, private and public sectors to ensure that food and feed safety risks are effectively managed and that food safety and security is of topmost priority to all Nigerians.