As part of efforts to minimise hazard-causing foodborne diseases in the country, the Federal Ministry of Health has launched two food safety manuals, developed in collaboration with other food safety stakeholders in the country.
Speaking during the launch of the Unified Food Safety Training Manuals, on Tuesday in Abuja, the minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said the manuals, being the first-of-its-kind training, will be of great value in training farmers, food processors, marketers, and vendors on the need to ensure that food sold, marketed, and consumed is wholesome and meets national and international standards.
The minister noted that “In 2010, 31 hazard-causing foodborne diseases were responsible for over 600 million illnesses and 420,000 deaths worldwide.
“In 2014, the World Bank’s “Safe Food Imperative” found that the cost-of-illness of diarrhoea, attributable to food contamination, is about US$10 per case, with Nigeria estimated to lose about US$6 billion annually in productivity which underscores why the health sector prioritizes safety of foods sold, marketed, and consumed in Nigeria.”
He said in line with the United Nations Resolution on strengthening food safety, the ministry emphasises food safety, as a serious element of public health that requires concerted efforts.
He noted that though the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)
and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are among agencies and parastatals in the health sector, with the mandate to target reducing the burden of foodborne diseases, the health sector cannot do it alone.
Ehanire added that food safety issues is handled with a one-health approach, where collaboration with the agriculture and environment sectors are essential, to ensure people only consume safe and wholesome foods.
“These Unified Training Manuals are designed to fill a gap in the food safety control system by providing a curriculum on the principles and techniques of hazard analysis and critical control point as well as good hygiene and manufacturing practices that can be used for training food processing industry employees, farmers, traders, transporters, vendors, and retailers, on the hygienic preparation, processing, and handling of foods, to ensure that food produced in the formal and informal sectors are as safe for consumption as possible.
“The manuals are designed to be simple and adaptable for trainers to tailor it to the specific needs of various categories of food handlers.”