Food Vendors in Nigeria have sought the collaboration of government at all levels in combating the menace of food poisoning as well as making sure that the foods consumed by citizens are safe and healthy.
The National President of the Association of Food Vendors in Nigeria AVFIN, Barr. Ijeoma Anaegbu-Okeukwu made this plea at the Inauguration of AFVIN’s New Executives In Osun State.
Anaegbu-Okeukwu emphasized the essence of food safety stressing that it impedes socio economic development by straining health care systems through food borne diseases.
The AFVIN National President said unhealthy food practices causes 125,000 deaths per annum with over 40% of children affected as a result of unsafe and harming practices by food vendors which attendant effects is responsible for high mortality and morbidity rate in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Governor of the state of Osun, Mr Gboyega Oyetola expressed the readiness of his administration to support initiatives to ensure food security and abundance in the state.
Represented by the Supervisor for Environment, Home Affairs, Culture and Tourism, Dr Adebisi Obawale said as food is strategic to his administration’s programmes, it is important for members of the association to work assiduously with it to make for healthy living.
Governor Oyetola noted that for the successful running of the project, the project needs to be localized and that AFVIN should incorporate of Local food Vendors especially owners of mama put spots on areas of personal hygiene among others.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Osun State Coordinator of AFVIN, Comrade Muideen Alao stressed the need for all to avoid contaminated food, food imbued with chemicals and shun unhealthy food practices.
Alao who reiterated the need for Nigerians to follow the five keys to food safety said the association will in no distant time move into markets across the state for sensitization for traders, market men and women as well as members of the public.
He noted that AVFIN will soon embark on aggressive and rigorous registration of all food Vendors in the state of Osun for proper training on global best practices in food safety and hygiene.
Experts at the programme as well as representatives of market men and women called for the enforcement of food safety laws and policies to stem the tide of the prevalence of epidemics like Diarrhea, cholera, lassa fever that has resulted into health issues and loss of lives.
Highlights of the event was the inauguration of the new executives of the Association of Food Vendors in Osun state led by Comrade Muideen Alao as well as a drama presentation to sensitize the gathering on the five keys to food safety as prescribed by the World Health Organization.