Monday, October 3, 2011

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A ONE DAY SENSITIZATION WORKSHOP ON FOOD HYGIENE AND SAFETY FOR POLICY MAKERS, AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PRACTITIONERS HELS AT SHEHU MUSA YAR’ADUA CENTRE, MAITAMA, ABUJA ON THURSDAY, 8TH SEPTEMBER, 2011

1.0 We, the participants of Sensitization workshop on Food Hygiene and Safety for Policy makers and Environmental health practitioners from the 36 states and FCT of Nigeria representing Federal and State Ministries of Environment, Health, Agriculture, Water Resources, Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Standards Organization of Nigeria, Consumer Protection Council, Armed Forces, Nigerian Civil Defence Corps, Local Government Services Commission, Local Government Areas [LGAs], Professional bodies [Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology], Non-governmental Organizations, Water aid and the Mass Media, met in Abuja at the above workshop to discuss issue relating to Food Hygiene and Safety in the Country and resolve as follows:


1.1 We recognize the role of food as a necessity to man’s existence but equally recognize its potential of being a vehicle of transmission of diseases many of which are communicable.

1.2 We recognizes that, against the tide of economic challenges and weak political will, the importance of food safety is not well appreciated, hence the need for this sensitization workshop for the policy makers.
1.3 we are concerned about the poor coordination of Food Hygiene and Safety issues, which is undermining the efforts of the country towards improving public health and generating wealth through food exports in support of the transformation Agenda of the Federal Government.

1.4 We are equally concerned about weak coordination of Food Hygiene and Safety at the Federal, State and local Government levels. Of special note is the non-implementation of the National Policy Guidelines on Food Sanitation.

1.5 We are also concerned that Nigeria may not be able to achieve goals 1, 4 and 6 of the Millennium Developments Goals which aim at eradication of extreme hunger and poverty, Reducing child mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases [including food borne] by 2015.

1.6 We are concerned about non availability of funding for Food Hygiene and Safety from Government at all levels.

1.7 We also identified the plethora of food laws, with the attendant multiplicity and difficulty in their implementation, owing to deficiencies of their provisions in addressing the present day food hygiene and safety challenges.

1.8 We are worried that there is lack of equipment and materials needed for the smooth running of food Hygiene and Safety services in Nigeria.

1.9 We are equally bothered about the poor state of Food establishments [Abattoirs, Slaughter slabs and meat shops and stalls, Restaurants, Fast food joints and food canteens, street vended food outlets, hotels, bakeries, cold stores and Suya spots, beer and pepper soup joints etc.

1.10 We are equally concerned that failures of policies developed are due to non-involvement of relevant stakeholders in their formulation who are crucial for their implementation at the grassroots level.

2.0 We now call on Government at all levels to ensure effective implementation of Food Hygiene and Safety program in the country with particular attention to:
2.1 Review all relevant laws with adequate provision for food Hygiene and Safety.

2.2 Set in motion necessary machinery for the implementation of National Policy Guidelines on Food Hygiene and Safety in Nigeria

2.3 Put in place modalities for multi-sectoral collaboration for effective management of food Hygiene and Safety.

2.4 Adopt effective and sustainable initiatives focusing on participatory approaches to Food Hygiene and Safety issues.

2.5 Increase financial investments in food Hygiene and Safety to scale up service delivery.

2.6 Urges States and LGAs to recognizes Food Hygiene and Safety as a right of citizens, hence all effort to stimulate it functioning must be supported, including where necessary the provision of effective bye-laws to suit local needs.

2.7 Urge Federal, States and LGAs to employ relevant skilled manpower for Food Hygiene and Safety especially Environmental Health Officers [EHOs] and Food Scientist to enhance implementation of food Hygiene and Safety in the country.

2.8 Urge Governments at all levels to strengthen sanitary inspection of premises as a means of improving Food hygiene and Safety services.

2.9 Urge MDAs to make adequate budgetary allocation and timely release of funds for coordinating sanitation and hygiene activities at all levels.

2.10 Request Government at all levels to accord priority to capacity building programs for EHOs and other stakeholders [institutional training; seminars and workshop etc] as a means of improving food hygiene Safety services.

2.11 Request Government at all levels to imbibe the use of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points [HACCP].

2.12 Call on relevant Government authorities to develop HACCP plans for our local foods such as Amala, Kosai, Akpu, Tuwo, Masa, etc.

2.13 Implore Government at all levels to identify Research and Development as a necessary tool for the development of food hygiene and safety services. In the same vein, results of in individual research works should be consolidated with a view to arriving at tangible national decisions.

2.14 Advocate for the establishment of National Health Management Information System, with food hygiene and safety as one of the elements for effective data management to aid Nigeria’s effort at controlling communicable diseases.

2.15 Accord adequate support to public awareness through community engagement and use of the mass media and other relevant organizations to make the general public appreciate the potential of food and food products to spread diseases.

2.16 Re-establish and equip Public/Environmental Health Laboratories in all the states of the federation to ensure prompt analysis of food samples.

2.17 Encourages Inter Governmental agency collaboration in Food Hygiene and Safety for the ultimate goal of ensuring effective service delivery and control

2.18 Initiate action to harmonize all laws relating to food hygiene and safety in the country with a view to maximizing their benefits.

2.19 Provide sufficient support infrastructure such as vehicles, field test kits and other logistics to enhance food hygiene and safety surveillance.

3.0 The participants appreciate the untiring efforts of Federal Ministries of Environment and Health represented by EHORECON and NAFDAC, the organizers of this workshop at curbing the menace of food-borne diseases to public health in the country.

4.0 Further, and in the spirit of partnership, we call on all actors across the country, from civil society, development partners, the mass media and the private sector organizations, to support government’s effort in implementing the recommendations of this workshop which is aimed at addressing the food hygiene and safety challenges in Nigeria with the urgency and consideration it deserves.

Signed for and on behalf of Participants by the Communiqué group:

Isah Adamu EHORECON
Mrs V. N. Ezeh NAFDAC
Phram [Mrs] M. O. Akeju Consumer Protection Council
Mrs M. B. Kehinde Standars Organization of Nigeria
Mr. J. Funsho Tehinse NIFST
Mr. M. A. Adenikan [Lagos state] States and FCT