NIGERIA – A Professor of Agricultural Management Productions, Prof. Adewale Dipeolu, has solicited the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to instigate the certification of food vendors and hawkers in the country, alluding this will assist in ensuring that only hygienic food is sold to Nigerians.

The agricultural expert said this while delivering the 66th inaugural lecture of Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).

Dipeolu has participated in several research and intervention projects, both at local and international levels.

He has also served as an external examiner at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in some universities.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture is entitled; “Food Demand Decisions: Not only the numerics but the characteristics.”

He reiterated that government agencies, such as NAFDAC and Consumer Protection Agency, should intensify efforts at ensuring that food sold in public spaces receive due certification before circulation.

“This will reduce the selling of substandard and expired products. NAFDAC should extend its tentacles to the informal food markets, monitor and ensure adequacy in simple hygiene rules,” he said.

The don urged government to intervene in the sector, as was being done in other developing countries, through training, education and supervision of food vendors to elevate the hygiene and profit levels in the informal food sector.

According to SundiataPost, he also called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, encourage vendors to prepare foods in a more hygienic environment by providing them with better facilities, to ensure safety.

Such efforts, he said, should be preceded by a well- organized public food safety enlightenment programme for consumers and producers to raise awareness levels among them.

He stressed that it is also important that traceability structures are put in place so that if there is a need for a recall, it becomes fairly easy.

He lamented that the Nigerian laws aimed at sanitizing the street food sector were grossly outdated, stressing that these laws failed to state how often the health officer must inspect the premises of sale of food and the food.

 They also failed to describe in explicit terms the levels of cleanliness expected of the regulated premises, and the penalties attached to violations of the clauses need to be reviewed.