Kaduna State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, yesterday said unsafe food was responsible for two million deaths worldwide annually, and also responsible for over 200 preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and cancer in Nigeria.
In a statement signed by its chairman, Dr Muhammed Sani Ibrahim and secretary,
Dr Shehu Abdulrahman, and made available to journalist in Kaduna yesterday, the association said it was unfortunate that no attention was paid on safety of food.
According to the statement, “As you are very much aware, every year in the month of April, the World Health Organisation sets aside April 7 as the World Health Day in order to draw the attention of the world to one issue of global public health priority.
“The problem of food safety is of utmost importance because unsafe food is responsible for over 200 preventable diseases such as diarrhoea diseases and cancers, killing an estimated two million people annually, including many children. In Nigeria, diarrhoea diseases alone are responsible for about 10.2 percent of all deaths in children. In addition, unsafe food borne diseases may lead to long-lasting disability. Examples of unsafe food include uncooked food of animal origin, fruits and vegetables that are contaminated with faeces.
“The Kaduna State branch of NMA, and the state branch of the APHPN commenced the activities of this year by jointly holding phone-in radio programmes on the theme in English and Hausa languages.
“It is disturbing that no special consideration is given to the issue of food safety. Thus, the aim of our campaign is to spur Government to improve food safety by making it a priority, by integrating it into broader food policies, and by building solid food system through a multi-sectoral collaboration that brings together the agricultural, health, trade and tourism sectors. For example, we are calling on the government to make it mandatory for manufacturers of all food items to use labels that indicate the exact content of the food. This is because many manufacturers still make use of prohibited substances such as potassium bromate (sometimes used to make bread more attractive) and other food additives (such as preservatives, coloring agents, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavours) which are responsible for many diseases including cancers.”

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