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Food Safety: NAFDAC highlights dangers of consuming cooked items stored in refrigerator for over 3 days

As a veritable measure to curb contamination by disease-causing pathogens, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, has urged Nigerian consumers to stop preserving cooked food in the refrigerator for more than three days.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, who said this in a statement recently warned that cooked food stored in the refrigerator for days is susceptible to contamination by disease-causing pathogens, key agents of food-borne diseases that can lead to death.

Dayo Akintola, Resident Media Consultant at NAFDAC, in the statement noted Prof. Adeyeye made the remarks at the commemoration of the 2024 World Food Safety Day (WFSD).

The Director-General of NAFDAC, therefore, urged stakeholders in the food supply chain to take deliberate actions to institute a food safety culture in their operations to mitigate food hazards and risks that could compromise food safety.

The statement noted: “She however, urged Nigerians to refrain from storing cooked food in the refrigerator for more than three days, warning that cooked food stored in the refrigerator for days is susceptible to contamination by disease-causing pathogens, key agents of food-borne diseases that can lead to death.”

The health sector regulatory agency further stressed that food safety is not only important for public health but a sine qua non for economic development and food security.

According to Adeyeye, food safety is a collective responsibility.

She urged all Nigerians, from producers to consumers to play their part to ensure food safety.

The food safety campaign, she stated, aims to promote global food safety awareness to strengthen efforts of preventing, detecting, and managing food-borne risks globally by highlighting the importance of being prepared for food safety incidents.

Adeyeye said: “Let us all stay true to the statements ‘food safety is everyone’s business’ and ‘food safety is a shared responsibility’ as we celebrate this year’s World Food Safety Day.

“Working together, we will continue to strengthen our food safety system, ensuring its resilience, robustness, and preparedness for the unexpected.”

A report referenced the World Health Organisation (WHO) disclosed estimated 600 million – almost one in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food, and 420,000 die every year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years.

The UN health agency also noted $110billion is lost yearly in productivity and medical expenses resulting from unsafe food in low- and middle-income countries.

Mrs. Eva Edwards, Director of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at WHO, reportedly alerted that foodborne diseases are expensive, yet they are preventable.

Edwards emphasised the significance of food as a necessity for human life, stressing that it can also be a source of harm if not handled properly.

The Director emphasised that food safety emergency response must be anchored on a multisectoral, collaborative, integrated one-health approach across the health, agriculture, and environment sectors, the tiers of government including relevant external partners and non-governmental organisations.

‘’Let’s all play our part in promoting the culture of good hygiene practices in our homes, communities, and food establishments. Together we can ensure a safer and healthier food supply for everyone,” said Mrs. Edwards.

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