The Nigeria Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) on Friday took food safety campaign to food vendors at Kairo market in Oshodi, Lagos.
The Chairman of NIFST, Lagos chapter, Mr Sunday Bamgbose told reporters that the campaign was in commemoration of the World Food Safety Day.
According to him, proper food handling is key to food borne disease prevention and that is why the Food Safety Champions of NIFST is embarking on this campaign.
“World food safety day is basically a day earmarked to ensure that the food people consume worldwide is safe.
“We know that food is mandatory for every human being, nobody can survive without food but if the food we are consuming is not safe, then it will not be beneficial to the body.
“So NIFST as a professional body felt it is their obligation to ensure that what we eat is safe and that is the reason for this campaign.
“The bigger industries have regulatory bodies like Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) monitoring them but these street vendors do not.
“These street food vendors have substantial number of public patronising them and this is the reason for us coming out to educate them on the need to ensure hygiene and safety in what they produce,” he said.
Bamgbose pointed out that each day, thousands of people die from preventable food borne disease as food could become contaminated with dangerous microorganisms at any point before consumption.
He said that food borne diseases were a problem in both developing and developed countries, a stain in health care systems, create vicious cycle of diarrhoea and malnutrition and so the need to combat it.
He listed simple food hygiene steps that could prevent most food borne diseases as: keeping clean, separate raw and cooked food, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures and use safe water and raw materials.
The NIFST chairman said that the response to the campaign was positive, though some vendors were apprehensive at the beginning but with patience and explanations they listened to them.
“This is like testing the waters, we tend to take this round Lagos, this is a concept developed by the NIFST Lagos chapter but has been adopted by the national body and this is being done nationwide.
“We have organisations like NAFDAC, the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, SON and industry players with us in this campaign and we believe that we will make the needed impact,” he said.
Bamgbose said that food safety went beyond vendors and industries, adding that at home, people needed to be conscious of how we prepare our food and ensure we kept food at the right places.
NIFST members were in Kairo market educating food vendors on food hygiene and safety and giving them Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like hand gloves, head nets and others.
The first-ever World Food Safety Day, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2018, is celebrated on June 7 under the theme “Food Safety, everyone’s business”.