The Federal Government on Tuesday directed NAFDAC to register all Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, exhibitors at the ongoing 1st Nigeria Food Safety and Investment Forum within two weeks.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, gave the order at the forum organised by the UN Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the forum is designed to enhance food safety and foster international business cooperation.
Mr. Adewole also ordered that all the SMEs should be given 50 per cent rebate certification registration by NAFDAC.
He also mandated the agency to compile the list of the affected SMEs exhibitors who were finding it difficult getting certification and ensure that the process was concluded within the next two weeks.
The minister, however, said that food borne diseases impede socio-economic development by straining healthcare systems and arming national economies, tourism and trades.
“Food safety incidents have had negative effects on public health, trades and livelihoods and on countries’ economies.
“People are consequently exposed to significant risks of food contamination.
“Unsafe foods containing harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites are indicated in over 200 diseases ranging from diarrhoea to cancer.
“An estimate shows that about 600 million people accounting for one in 10 globally fall ill after eating contaminated food.
“And about 420,000 die every year; in addition, children under five years old carry 40 per cent of the food-borne disease burden with 125,000 deaths every year,” he said.
The minister said that lack of access to quality foods influenced consumption of bad foods, thus threatening national economy and health sectors.
He said: “According to the World Health Organisation in 2015, access to sufficient food in safe and nutritious components is central to sustaining life and promoting good health.
“The negative impact of unsafe food is enormous and also creates a vicious circle of diseases and malnutrition.
“Particularly affecting infants, young children, elderly and the sick,” he said.