Nigeria is attempting to improve food safety with a range of training materials. The Federal Ministry of Health launched a unified food safety training manual for capacity building of food vendors, handlers, manufacturers and personnel in the food supply chain in the country.
The aim is to address gaps and strengthen the food safety system at the federal, state and local government area levels, to develop a safe and reliable food supply chain from farm-to-table and prevent foodborne illness.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said: “food safety and hygiene is critical for achieving primary health care as it constitutes one of the major pillars of disease prevention and health promotion.” Ehanire added the food safety training manual was developed by stakeholders in Nigeria and would be of value in training farmers, food processors, marketers, and vendors on the need to ensure that food sold, marketed, and consumed meets national and international standards.
Foodborne diseases are caused by contamination of food and occur at any stage of the farm-to-fork chain. They can result from environmental contamination including pollution in water, soil or air, as well as unsafe food storage and processing. The World Health Organisation (W.H.O) figures published in 2015 found foodborne hazards are responsible for 137,000 deaths and 91 million illnesses in Africa every year. “The launching of the manuals is quite timely, given that the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in food production and control systems highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Edwin Isotu Edeh, national consultant for public health and environment, speaking on behalf of the World Health Organisations representative for Nigeria. Food Safety News