The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, has said that long term exposure to low levels of contaminants in food obtained from animals that are poorly kept or fed with poor quality feeds exposes consumers to diseases.
The agency declared that animals raised in confinement and fed defined feeds containing ingredients, ranging from rendered animal products and animal waste to antibiotics, could expose consumers to unacceptable risks from specific plant and animal disease agents as well as other food contaminants.
This was made known on Thursday, at a one-day workshop for feed millers and farmers, tagged, ‘Risk Assessment in Feed Production,’ which was jointly organised by NAFDAC and the Nigeria Institute of Animal Science.
In her opening remarks during the workshop, the Director -General, NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, said the emerging trend of events in global food safety had revealed that the safety and wellbeing of man directly depended on animal health and environment.
“The stake of NAFDAC in food safety is to ensure that food available for consumption is safe and of the right quality,” she stated.
The NAFDAC DG acknowledged that whatever was fed to the farm animals would eventually enter the food chain, adding that farmers were usually the first partakers of their produce.
She added, “It is therefore important for the farmers to be more cautious on the quality of inputs used on their farm animals and ensure a safe, sound, wholesome product fit for human consumption are churned out .”
According to her, in line with her mandate, NAFDAC undertook several regulatory measures including participating in inter-agency activities to ensure food safety, collaborating with NIAS in presenting Nigeria’s position to the International Feed Regulators Meeting annually and developing national feed ingredient list for commercial feed millers, among other measures.
In his address, the Director, VMAP Directorate, Dr Buka Usman, said the workshop was a fallout of the need that was identified during Nigeria’s participation in the IFRM in January 2018.
He said the agency’s contribution to the national food safety was directed towards ensuring the quality and safety of agricultural inputs, especially animal feeds, premixes and concentrates being used in agricultural production because that stage was the cradle of food safety.
He said, “It is important to stress that the directorate of VMAP was created to achieve that purpose through her regulatory activities as empowered by law and collaboration with relevant organisations along the value chain.
“In recent times, the need to ensure food safety and security of our food chain has been noted. At the last IFRM, it was noted that the security of our food chain starts from the safety and security of feed being fed to animals. This is the essence of safer feed for safer food concept.
“Animals raised in confinement and fed defined feeds containing ingredients ranging from rendered animal products and animal waste, to antibiotics, could expose consumers to unacceptable risks from specific plant and animal disease agents as well as other food contaminants.
“Therefore, the illegal production, distribution and marketing of animal feeds and feed additive, both local and imported must be checked by creating adequate awareness on the risks to consumers arising from long term exposure to low levels of contaminants in food of animal origin obtained from animals that are poorly kept or fed poor quality feed.”
Usman maintained that the production of safe feed and food required the effective surveillance and continuous monitoring of all steps along the production chain taking good cognisance of the systems used in the production, distribution and storage of the materials.
He added, “Ability to identify all materials from source to the point of use, carefully eliminating unwanted materials is the essence of this workshop.”