NIFST seeks implementation of food safety standards
The Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) has called for implementation of food safety standards to enhance product acceptability in the international markets.
The President of NIFST, Mr Wole Toye, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday.
According to him, not only will it enhance acceptability of foods in the international markets but it will also lead to producing foods that are nutritious, wholesome and safe to consume locally.
“Now that the country is trying to become self-sufficient in some food products, we need to do things right so that we will achieve our goal.
“We have witnessed our food products like beans and others being banned by the U.S., and this has to do with standards that we are talking about.
“This is the time to ensure that we implement the international food safety standards so that our produce will be acceptable in the international markets and help create wealth for the country, ’’ he said.
Toye said that to ensure that food fabricators locally abide by the standards, there was the need to look into the activities, most especially of the Small and Medium Enterprises that are into food processing.
He noted that the institute would be embarking on an awareness campaign to highlight the relevance of adopting international standards in food processing.
The NIFST president said that the most critical area of the institute’s focus was on operators of street foods, saying that there would be partnership with stakeholders to ensure this goes smoothly.
He listed the stakeholders to be the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Local government and the Nigerian Police.“This year, we will ensure that we do more with SMEs, local fabricators that are into food processing as they are another cornerstones.
“Since most of the street food vendors are informal, we need to take the campaign to them and explain why they need to pay attention to food safety no matter how small they think the food they are preparing is.
“These street vendors are areas that are prone to food contamination. We are lucky in the country that we have never had any case of outbreak of food borne disease but we should not wait, the time is now, ‘’ he said.
Toye said that in creating the awareness, the institute would be using people called street food safety professionals among our members.He urged the media to also partner with the institute to ensure the right dissemination of information. Toye said that before now it had been a little bit difficult for them, as the institute was run solely on annual dues from members.
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