The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) have tasked the Federal Government to establish policies and regulations to drive high food safety standards.
As over 70 percent of food exports from Nigeria are rejected abroad, experts at the third workshop on ‘Food and Feed Expertise Coordination’ this week in Abuja stressed the need to drive food safety.
This was according to a statement from the USDA on Thursday, which was seen by Naijaonpoint.
The NESG CEO-Designate, Dr Tayo Aduloju, was quoted as saying:
Also, Dr. Emmanuel Odu, Senior Special Advisory to the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare (who represented Prof. Mohammed Ali Pate, Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare), emphasized that citizens deserve access to nutritious, safe food that promotes well-being.
He also disclosed that the Ministry plans to validate the revised National Policy on Food Safety & Quality and its Implementation Plan, 2023, as well as launch the first National Integrated Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Surveillance and Response.
The President of the Food and Agriculture Export Alliance (FAEA), Kent Sission, noted that the organization is collaborating with Nigerian government agencies responsible for ensuring the safe production and consumption of food and animal feed.
He added that the organization also works with the USDA, USAID, the University of Missouri, and the NESG.
The USDA, alongside the NESG, the FAEA, the USDA, the University of Missouri (MU), and Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, organized the third workshop on “Food and Feed Expertise Coordination” to launch a three-day program for high-level officials and technical experts from the Nigerian food industry and regulatory bodies to advance the action plan drafted as the end of a previous workshop held in December 2022.
To offer a long-term food safety and quality framework for implementation across Nigeria, new Technical Working Groups (TWGs) will provide the necessary expertise and leadership to enable effective communication, capacity-building, and strategic partnerships among stakeholders.
Considering the importance of food to the health and well-being of Nigerians, the three-day food safety expert workshop builds on last year’s Food and Feed Safety Transformation Dialogue, during which stakeholders challenged the government to pass the National Food Safety and Quality Bill into law.
According to the statement, the United States provided helpful advice for Nigeria’s food quality and safety agenda based on its own experiences implementing the US Food Safety Modernization Act.
At the end of the workshop, the Food Safety Committee provided direction to the TWGs on how to provide insightful feedback that can be used to inform regulatory decisions.