Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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World Food Safety Day: Expand Access to Healthy Food, Prioritise Effective Food Policies to Improve Public Health, CAPPA Urges Govt

As the world marks 2024 World Food Safety Day today, with the theme “Food safety: prepare for the unexpected,” Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has urged governments at all levels to prioritise effective food policies, food security and access in the interest of public health.

In a statement signed by its Media and Communications Officer, Robert Egbe, the organisation commended the Nigerian government for its initiatives and efforts to improve food accessibility and affordability in the country but noted that food safety remains a critical issue, nonetheless.

The statement reads further: “Many Nigerians and local farmers are still unable to earn a livelihood from farming and thus improve the food supply chain due to unending armed conflicts and the varied impacts of climate change. This terrible situation has worsened food shortages, hunger pangs, and inflation across the country.

“Moreso, incidents of food adulteration, contamination, improper labelling, unverified food claims by producers, and victimisation of consumers by big food corporations continue to pose grave dangers to the economy, well-being and nutrition of vulnerable Nigerians.

“It is in this context that CAPPA reiterates the need for state authorities to enact and implement comprehensive laws and policies across the food and nutrition spectrum, not only to ensure adequate food regulatory oversight but to maintain vigilance that safeguards Nigerians and public health.

“In particular, the overconsumption of salt and sugar has been linked to the growth of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases worldwide and in Nigeria, causing both economic and social strains.

“CAPPA urges the government to reverse this negative trend by implementing food strategies and policies that promote access to healthier diets and spur producers to reformulate comestibles for the betterment of public health.

“Most importantly, we encourage the government to, among other viable measures, increase the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as well as set mandatory salt limits in food products to protect Nigerians from excessive consumption and tackle the alarming rise of obesity cases and NCDs in the country. These actions, proven effective globally, can help Nigeria bolster national food safety and public wellbeing.

Above all, we ask Nigerians to be kind to themselves by prioritising their health and eating to live, not to die. People must watch their food consumption patterns, making sure to consciously desist from the excessive consumption of sugar, salt, and fat, which is associated with an increased risk of non-communicable diseases,” the statement concluded.

 

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