Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that the state government through the Edo State Food and Nutrition Committee is putting appropriate measures in place to check unhealthy practices such as the use of harmful fruit ripening agents which expose the public to health risks.
The governor said this in commemoration of the inaugural World Food Safety Day, marked by the United Nations (UN) on June 7.
Obaseki said the Edo State Food and Nutrition Committee is working to develop sustainable strategies to ensure foods produced and consumed in the state are safe for the public, especially the use of harmful fruit ripening agents such as calcium carbide, a chemical with carcinogenic properties, to force fruits to ripen, which is injurious to human health.
He said, “As we commemorate the World Food Safety Day, we will continue to advance and implement policies which encourage the consumption of healthy and nutritious food. Eating healthy and highly nutritious food goes a long way in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We are putting mechanisms in place to check this injurious practice and other associated underhand tricks that fuel unhealthy food production.
“Some of these strategies include farmer education, including tips on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP); sensitisation of traders and consumer education. Relevant agricultural agencies with responsibility to check food safety have also been put on notice to conduct regular checks at farmgates and other points in the food distribution chain.
“We will work with stakeholders and groups to sensitise and assist farmers and other persons in the food chain to deploy the right skills in ensuring foods are safe from production to consumption, through processing, storage and distribution.”
While commending the global body for the 2019 theme of the World Food Safety Day, 2019 “Food Safety, Everyone’s Business,” Obaseki called for multi-stakeholder engagement to improve the awareness campaign on the importance of food safety and nutrition.
According to the UN, “With an estimated 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually, unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies. An estimated three million people around the world – in developed and developing countries – die every year from food and waterborne disease. Food is the starting point for our energy, our health and our well-being.”