Chairman, Travel Writers Corps of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State Council, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo has raised concerns over the alarming reported high incidents of food-borne diseases worldwide.
Speaking with travel writers shortly after visiting major food business outfits in Yenagoa, as part of activities to mark this year’s World Food Safety Day, Mr Kiyaramo advocated for food safety education in schools described the theme of this year’s food safety day: “safe food now and for the future” as very appropriate.
He added that food safety has continued to be a major global public health concern in spite of much research and expenditure made by various by governments and research institutes, calling for a review of food safety and sanitation legislations to checkmate the exceses of food handlers.
Mr. Kiyaramo drew the attention of relevant law enforcement agencies on food safety and sanitation to inspire actions that would help prevent, detect and manage foodborne risks, informing that food is the third most basic thing for life, after air and water, describing food as the starting point for energy that keeps humans healthy.
He noted that food has an important position and role in the emerging experience economy (tourism), whether in the preparation of it, knowledge of it or consuming it, stressing that food safety should be seen as a shared responsibility between governments, producers, and consumers, as everyone has a role to play from the farm to table to ensure that the food we consume is safe and healthy.
According to the Global Report on Food Tourism by the World Tourism Organization, the average tourist spends around a third of their holiday budget on food.
More than 91 million people fall ill and 137,000 die each year. Non-typhoidal Salmonella, which can be caused by contaminated eggs and poultry, causes the most deaths, killing 32,000 a year,” according to WHO.
African Region was estimated to have the highest burden of foodborne diseases per population.
“The food safety regulations say that all food handlers must be supervised and instructed and/or receive training in food hygiene matters commensurate with their work activities and so everyone that works in the food industry must be trained in food hygiene before they can begin work.
World Food Safety Day is observed on June 7 every year to draw public attention to help prevent, detect and manage food-borne risks, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism, and sustainable development.
World Health Organization (WHO) pursues its efforts to mainstream food safety in the public agenda to reduce the burden of food-borne diseases globally.
It stresses that the production and consumption of safe food have immediate and long-term benefits for people, the planet, and the economy.
Major food businesses visited include: Kilimajaro, Swallow Bukka, Chicken Republic, Pepperoni, Comfort Kitchen, Success Kitchen and Crunches.
By Dave Asei