Implementation of the National Policy on Food Safety NPFS would minimize the risk of outbreak of diseases arising from poor safety practices and reduce the prevalence of food-borne and related diseases.
The Federal Ministry of Health is responsible for the formulation of national policies, guidelines and regulations on food safety including monitoring and evaluation. It is also responsible for the assessment of the nutritive value of food, environmental sanitation, food environment and handlers, control of food borne disease, quality of public water from taps, as well as national and international matters relating to food. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC is responsible for the regulation and control of the importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drug, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals, packaged water and detergent at Federal and State levels in Nigeria.
Appropriate tests are conducted and compliance with standard specifications for the effective control of the quality of food, bottled water and the raw materials as well as their production processes in factories and other establishments is ensured.
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The Agency undertakes appropriate investigations into production premises and raw materials for food and establishes relevant quality assurance systems including certification of the production sites and the regulated products and pronounces on the quality and safety of food, bottled water and chemicals. The role of the Agency also includes the inspection of imported food facilities to ascertain relevant quality assurance systems necessary for certification of the imported food product.
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria is responsible for the formulation and enforcement of set standards on the composition of imported and locally manufactured food. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is responsible for formulating policies on primary agricultural production and practices which cover plants, animals, pests and diseases etc.
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The Federal Department of Fisheries has the responsibility for ensuring that fish and fishery products produced, imported into or exported from Nigeria conform to international quality standards of wholesomeness as stipulated in the Sea Fisheries Fish Inspection and Quality Assurance Regulation of The aim of all of which is to ensure compliance with the Fish Quality and Quarantine Services Regulation of Consumer Protection Council is the government agency responsible for protecting consumers from unwholesome practices and assisting them seek redress for unscrupulous practices and exploitation.
The agency encourages trade, industry and professional associations to develop and enforce quality standards designed to safeguard the interest of the consumer. The Federal Ministry of Environment has a role to play in the control of environmental food contaminants, persistent organic pollutants, environmental pollution, waste disposal, etc. Federal Ministry of Education has a role to play through enlightenment and manpower development by incorporating subjects on safe food handling in the school curriculum and courses on Food Safety Management Systems i.
Tertiary and Research Institutes are responsible for research and will provide scientific basis for policy development and programme design in addition to relevant training programmes for capacity building and manpower development. The private sector is also expected to collaborate and complement government efforts in specific areas of education and awareness creation on the need to adopt and cultivate safe food handling habits by all categories of employees.
It is recommended that small and medium scale entrepreneurs complement the efforts of the regulatory bodies by forming umbrella associations e. This enables the group to easily arrange consultative meetings with the regulatory bodies during which their views, issues of concerns and capacities are discussed and taken into account during decision making. Forming such associations also enables the regulatory bodies organize targeted capacity building training programmes for the group.
Various bodies are involved in food safety activities all along the food chain therefore proper co-ordination of their activities is crucial for an effective food control system. Poor or lack of co-ordination of activities sometimes leads to duplication of efforts, higher cost of doing business, discouragement of entrepreneurs etc and an ineffective food control system. The global trend in food safety control emphasizes a multifaceted and multidisciplinary approach with effective co-ordination and collaboration between the regulatory bodies, the industry, academia, research institutes, professional bodies, consumer associations and the general public.
A national food safety policy which spells out the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders is essential for achieving an effective food safety control system. An effective national food control system takes into account current situations and develops a national food control strategy to enable the country develop an integrated, coherent, dynamic and effective control. Situations differ from country to country therefore the programmes to achieve the objectives of the food control strategy are country specific. Official food control systems provide the possibility for implementation of the regulatory activities of government bodies aimed at ensuring that all foods are safe, wholesome and fit for human consumption, and are honestly and accurately labelled.
Important components of a food control system include: policy and institutional frameworks; food legislation and regulations; food inspection and monitoring; laboratory services and dissemination of information to all stakeholders.
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The private sector and consumers should be fully carried along and their views and capacities taken into account, because they play a crucial role in ensuring that the overall goals of the food control systems are achieved. It is essential for adequate communication between government, private sector and consumers to be active and sustained. The widely accepted principles of food control systems include: the role of scientific evidence and use of the risk analysis framework to make food safety decisions, structures to achieve prevention and control along the entire food value chain and ensuring that food chain operators realize that the primary responsibility to ensure safe and good quality foods rests on them.
A well planned and structured food control system should give rise to a suitable national system developed in line with international best practices and harmonized with Codex Alimentarius Commission standards and World Trade Organization WTO requirements. There are various organizational structures for national food control systems; however the three main types that are considered suitable are as follows:.
A single agency system which involves a unified, single agency being responsible for national food control;. The type of system does not matter as much as its fitness for the intended purpose. Whatever system is in place, adequate communication and coordination among different institutions are crucial. The single agency system puts the responsibility for food safety and public health protection in a single Food Control Agency.
The relevant bodies responsible for food control along the value chain are domiciled in one agency and under the same management therefore the system is coordinated and makes for quicker response and effectiveness. This kind of system shows that Government places high priority on food safety and reduction of food-borne illness.
Regulation and Enforcement of Legislation on Food Safety in Nigeria
The advantages of a single agency system include:. Reduction or elimination of overlap of functions, duplication of efforts, delays, increased cost of doing business and wastage. Increased ability to respond quickly to emerging challenges e. Food control systems serve the primary purpose of ensuring food safety and protection of the health of consumers although there are other important objectives such as ensuring fair practices in trade, facilitating food export trade, developing the food sector to operate in a professional and scientific manner and economic benefits.
The systems that specifically deal with these objectives can be sectoral i. It could be mandatory or voluntary. It is put in effect through a general food law or a sectoral regulation. For example, an export inspection law that requires certain foods to be mandatorily inspected before export; regulated systems for grading and marking fresh agricultural produce which are sold directly to the consumer; specific commodity inspection regulations such as for milk and milk products, fats and oils, meat and meat products etc.
Sectoral initiatives may give rise to separate food control activities which leads to the creation of multiple agencies with responsibilities for food control. In this type of system, the food control responsibilities are usually shared between government ministries such as Health, Agriculture, Commerce, Environment, Trade, Industry and Tourism and government agencies such as the National Food Control Body or the Food Standards Body.
The enabling laws specify the roles and responsibilities of the relevant government bodies which are different but sometimes overlap. This gives rise to challenges such as fragmentation, increased bureaucracy, increased cost of doing business, duplication of functions and lack of co-ordination between the various bodies with roles to play all along the farm to table continuum. Food control systems may also be fragmented between national, state and local government bodies and the thoroughness of implementation depends on the competence and efficiency of the agency responsible at each level.
Therefore consumers may not receive the same level of protection throughout the country and it may be difficult to properly evaluate the effectiveness of interventions at national, state and local government levels. Conflicts arising from overlap of functions and lack of cohesion between bodies with roles in food safety and consumer protection leading to over-regulation and undue delays. It is often difficult to have a unified or integrated food control system in this kind of set up because of the various historical and political reasons therefore the national food control strategy should clearly identify and assign roles to each agency to avoid duplication of efforts and to enable some measure of coherence amongst them.
Integrated food control systems are operated where there is the desire and political will to achieve effective collaboration and coordination between agencies across the farm-to-table continuum. An integrated National Food Control Agency should address the entire food chain and have the mandate to move resources to high priority areas and to address important sources of risk.
The system should be structured such as to have several levels of operation as follows:. Level 1: Formulation of policy, risk assessment and management and development of standards and regulations. This model calls for the establishment of an autonomous national food agency which is responsible for activities at levels 1 and 2 with existing multi-sectoral agencies retaining responsibility for level 3 and 4 activities.
The advantages include:.
Politically more acceptable as it does not disturb the day to day inspection and enforcement roles of other agencies. Separates risk assessment and risk management functions, hence objective consumer protection measures with resultant confidence among domestic consumers and credibility of foreign buyers;.
Promotes uniform application of control measures across the food value chain throughout the country;. The role of such an agency is to establish national food control goals, put into effect the strategic and operational activities necessary to achieve the goals. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Overview Highlights. Standards Foodborne disease is addressed in specific OSHA standards for general industry and construction. Hazard Recognition Provides references that may aid in recognizing hazards associated with foodborne disease. Evaluation and Investigation Provides references that may aid in the evaluation of potential foodborne disease outbreaks. Control and Prevention Provides information on control and prevention for foodborne disease.
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Additional Resources Provides links and references to additional resources related to foodborne disease. Workers' Rights Workers have the right to: Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. Receive information and training in a language and vocabulary the worker understands about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
Food safety in the United States
File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA's rules. When faced with tackling food-borne illness, regulators have a number of competing goals. They must investigate in order to discover the source of the illness. Once the source is identified they must take action to prevent further cases of illness occurring.
Finally, once the illness is under control, they may wish to take enforcement action against those responsible. Regulating Food-Borne Illness uses interviews and documentary analysis to examine the actions of regulators and considers how they balance these three tasks. Central to the regulators' role is the collection of information.