The consumption of safe and nutritious food is important to sustaining life and promoting good health. Safe food supply is one of the pillars that constitute food security. Food with no harmful effect on man.
There is a rise in the rate of food consumption as a result of certain factors which includes: Rising population, Urbanization as people tend to crave for varieties of food etc. As a result of these challenges, producers are tasked with the responsibilities of producing more and a greater responsibility to ensure the safety of the food they produce. Babatunde Olarewaju an Agricultural Extension expert in his weekly letters to farmers wrote about the Rising Rate of Food Contamination and how to curtail it.
In 2020, WHO stated that unsafe food includes harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites and chemical substances that cause more than 200 diseases, and it is becoming very alarming. Sadly, an estimated 600 million fall ill after consuming contaminated food and 420,000 die every year. Thus, there is a need for urgent measures to be put in place to reduce the impact of unsafe food, especially in developing countries.
In Africa, the majority of healthy and safe agricultural produce are being exported to Europe, leaving the junk of “unsafe” produce to be consumed locally. This is becoming a trend/norm that should be checked. There is a need to develop standards for value chain actors (especially small holder farmers) locally to reduce incessant unsafe food.
It is interesting to know that the means to achieve safe food is hinged on certifications being managed by private organizations (private standards), and regulated by government and other relevant agricultural stakeholders. Certifications provide a level of assurance to consumers that food being produced follows laydown processes and procedures that guarantees sustainability of food and environment. This would always be a big win. It is pertinent that these standards are demand driven. Therefore, more work needs to be done in policy implementation that protects the consumers and guarantees them consistent quality and safe agricultural produce at all times. We need to do more for ourselves and the World at large as the future depends on Africa to provide adequate and sufficient food.