John Odhe, Yenagoa
Food Vendors in Bayelsa State are seeking the collaboration of governments at all levels in combating the inherent menace of food poisoning as well as making sure that the food consumed by citizens are safe for healthy living.
National President of Association of Food Vendors in Nigeria ( AFVIN ) Chris Worji made the plea at the inauguration of AFVIN,s new Executive in Bayelsa State.
He stated that the essence of food safety was for improved longevity , adding that it affected socio – economic development by strong health care system through food borne diseases.
He said unhealthy food practices was responsible for numerous deaths per annum with high rate of children affected as a result of unsafe and harmful practices by food vendors which attendant effects have resulted to high mortality and morbidity rate across Nigeria.
Earlier , in his welcome address, the state coordinator of AFVIN, Mr. Seiyefa Adams Adamu stressed the need for all to stay away from contaminated foods that are imbued with chemicals and avoid unhealthy food practices.
“As an NGO, we are poised to provide integrated people oriented food safety services of best standards to Nigerians and the world using dedicated and compassionate officers to prevent poisonous food resulting from chemicals in red , carbide in ripening of fruits,using detergents in washing edible fruits , use of tyres in roasting meat among others.”
He also reiterated the five keys to food safety , adding that the association will in no distant time move into markets across the states for the sensitization for traders , market men and women as well as members of the public .He also stated that AFVIN will soon embark on aggressive and rigorous registration of all food vendors for proper training on global best practices in food safety and hygiene.
He said “the bottom line for the existence of the association in Nigeria is to preserve our health with respect to food and drinks.Health is wealth as the aphorism says and the need to maintain our health which is wealth cannot be over emphasized.”
A professional sanitarian, Dr Ajueyitsi Oghenekaro called for the enforcement of food safety laws and policies to stem the wave of the prevalence of epidemics like diarrhea , cholera, lassa fever that has caused health hazards and loss of lives. He also lamented the neglect and the failure of sanitary inspectors dereliction of their monitoring and enforcement duties.
In his remarks, the state Public Relations Officer of AFVI, Comrade Silas Ikimi they are prepared to key into its mandate by enforcing compliance no matter whose ox is gored.
Highpoints of the event was the inauguration of the state Executive and unveiling of the state secretariat and signpost.
Our correspondent reports that despite the importance of the body, none of the state government agencies were in attendance, as the organizers said they were invited and wondered why they shunned their invitation, but assured that AFVIN has come to stay in Bayelsa State.