COVID-19: National Accreditation System assures support on food safety 

The Nigeria National Accreditation System, (NiNAS) has declared its readiness to support Nigeria to achieve food safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

NiNAS disclosed this as it mark’s this year’s World Accreditation Day with the theme ‘Accreditation: improving food safety’.

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

“The Nigeria National Accreditation System, NiNAS is excited to mark this year’s World Accreditation Day, on June 9th 2020 with the theme ‘’Accreditation: improving food safety’’. Although coined long before the ongoing pandemic, the theme aptly captures the moment of our time.

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“As the world wads through this pandemic storm, this year’s World Accreditation Day provides an opportunity for the world to review on-going food practices and steps that is exigent towards achieving food safety globally.

“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.

Mr Okanya said 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. “This competence is assessed by the accreditation bodies such as NiNAS against international standards and requirements”, he noted.

“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, which 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.

He, however, said, “as NiNAS embraces this year’s theme with great optimism and believe that improving food safety should present a point of departure for more collaborations 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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