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Nigeria's Food Safety Revolution
  • Nigeria’s Food Safety Revolution: Minister Unveils Bold Policy Reforms

Health Minister Pate launched the revised National Policy on Food Safety and Quality, aimed at enhancing food safety and quality standards nationwide.

The launch, overseen by Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Mohammed Ali Pate, marked a significant milestone in efforts to achieve food safety in Nigeria.

The policy, rooted in the “One Health” approach, addresses a spectrum of critical areas and sets forth benchmarks for safe handling, marketing, and sale of food throughout the country.

During the ceremony in Abuja, Minister Pate, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Daju Kachollom, emphasized the importance of the new policy framework. He highlighted its focus on risk analysis, emerging contaminants, and the establishment of an integrated food-borne disease surveillance and response system.

Additionally, the minister inaugurated four inter-sectoral Technical Working Groups (TWGs) in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and partners to drive effective communication, capacity building, and strategic partnerships among stakeholders.

The TWGs, approved by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, are tasked with various functions including risk-based regulations, risk analysis in food and feed safety, and Food and Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) inspection. They will also address traceability, supporting technologies, education for stakeholders, and research to strengthen and harmonize Nigeria’s regulatory environment and risk-based food safety systems.

Programme Manager of USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA-FAS), Kelly Scavella, commended the initiative, stating that the TWGs would help modernize Nigeria’s food system.

She emphasized the importance of collaboration and innovation in safeguarding food and feed safety, aligning with the core mission of World Food Safety Day.

The launch of the TWGs underscores Nigeria’s commitment to ensuring safe and reliable access to food across the nation.

Prior to the passage of the Food Safety and Quality Bill into law, stakeholders convened for a prioritization workshop in December 2022.

This workshop led to recommendations to create TWGs comprised of experts from various sectors to support the development of science-based regulations.

Despite delays due to the 2023 election and competing priorities, progress continued with an expertise coordination workshop in November 2023.

This workshop aimed to scout for expertise needed for the TWGs and set an agenda for capacity building. Through these efforts, Nigeria is moving towards a more robust food safety regulatory framework aligned with international standards.

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