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Piqued by the rising poor food safety practices and standards that led to huge economic losses evident in the myriad of rejects of some food exports at the international markets, the Nigerian National Accreditation Systems (NiNAS), said it is driving performance in the food supply chain to reduce the incidence.

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They also declared a readiness to support Nigeria to achieve food safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic through reduction in cases of contamination, poor preservation method, and adulteration of food products.

NiNAS disclosed this as it marked this year’s World Accreditation Day, themed: “Accreditation: improving food safety.”

In a statement signed by the Director-General and Chief Executive of NiNAS, Celestine Okanya, this year’s World Accreditation Day provides an opportunity for the world to review on-going food practices and steps that are exigent to achieving food safety globally.

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“COVID-19 has shown us that food safety does not only have human health implications, but could have a direct and adverse effect on both local and global economies are linked.

“The fact that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was initially found around people associated with seafood and live animal market, and the limited information about its transmission calls for learning and systemic change on how we perceive the role of accreditation services in general, and specifically as accreditation relates to food safety,” the statement said.

Okanya said that the sole aim of accreditation is to assure end-user and regulators that a Conformity Assessment Body (CAB), such as a certificate or inspection body, testing, calibration or medical laboratory, has the required technical competence and operates impartially.

He said “This competence is assessed by the accreditation bodies such as NiNAS against international standards and requirements.

“In Nigeria, there is rising poor food safety practices and standards, which according to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has led to huge economic losses. These are evident in the myriad of rejects of some food exports from Nigeria at international borders as a result of contamination, poor preservation method and adulteration of food products.

“Accreditation aims to help support the reduction of these incidences through driving up performance of organisations in the food supply chain.”

He added that “as NiNAS embraces this year’s theme with great optimism and believe that improving food safety should present a point of departure for more collaboration in making food processing attain acceptable standards in the public interest, we call for urgent implementation of Nigeria Quality Policy which will drive and enforce accreditation across the country.”

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