Unsafe food consumption kills two million yearly | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Unsafe food consumption kills two million yearly

Posted: Apr 13, 2015 at 1:55 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Prof. Mba Okoronkwo of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has blamed the death of an estimated two million people yearly worldwide, on unsafe food consumption.

Okoronkwo, the Dean, School of Health Sciences, NOUN, gave the figure at an event to celebrate the 2015 World Health Day in Lagos.

The theme of the event, jointly organised by the university and Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), was `Food Security’.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Health Day is celebrated on April 7 annually.

The don said foods containing harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances were responsible for more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhoea to cancer.

“That is why the WHO is promoting efforts to improve food safety, from farm to plate, and everywhere in between, on World Health Day.

“The World Health Day 2015 is an opportunity to alert people working in different government sectors, farmers, manufacturers, retailers and health practitioners about the importance of food safety.

“It equally emphasises the part each of us can play in ensuring that everyone can feel confident that the food on their plate is safe to eat.

“As our food supply becomes increasingly globalised, the need to strengthen food safety systems in and between all countries is becoming more and more evident.’’

Okoronkwo said the WHO helped countries prevent, detect and respond to food borne-disease outbreaks, in line with international food standards, guidelines and sides of practice.

He said the WHO, together with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), alerted countries to food safety emergencies, through international informational network.

According to Okonkwo, food is a fundamental human need, a basic right and a prerequisite to good health.

He said the human body depended on the energy, protein, vitamins and mineral elements found in a variety of foods to survive, and remain strong.

The don said new threats to food safety were constantly emerging, with changes in food production, distribution and consumption.

“Changes to environment, new and emerging pathogens, anti-microbial resistance all pose challenges to national food systems.

“Food safety is a shared responsibility. It is important to work all along the food production chain, from the farmer and manufacturers to vendors and consumers, “ he said.

Earlier, the YMCA Chairman, Mr Mike Onilude, said the association was founded by George Williams and other 11 young men in London in 1884.

Onilude said the formation was in response to the unhealthy social conditions that arose in big cities at the end of the industrial revolution.

According to him, the association will continue to empower young people to offer support to developmental programmes and services that would enhance better living.

NAN reports that the association operates in 120 countries across the world.