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NLC calls for actions to promote public health and safety

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Safety of pension fund, our priority — Labour

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called for actions geared toward promoting public health and safety by regulating, detecting, preventing and managing food borne risks all over the world.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President made the call in a statement on Monday in Abuja to celebrate the 2020 World Food Safety Day (WFSD).

The theme of the 2020 commemoration is, “Food Safety is Everyone’s Business”.

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Wabba said the call for action was imperative to promote public health and safety.

“This global event, being marked for the second consecutive year, is aimed at raising public awareness on the need to protect food sources from contamination arising from unsafe production, storage, processing, retailing and consumption.

“The theme of this year’s commemoration “Food Safety is Everyone’s Business” buttresses the link between food safety and public safety.

“The suspected origin of the current novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from a food market in Wuhan, China, is a very good example of the relationship between food safety and public safety.

“As it is popularly said, “we are what we eat”. It is therefore important for governments all over the world to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and its association with unhealthy food sources.

“It is noteworthy that the Chinese government is taking this matter very seriously as it has reviewed its laws on food safety and consumption going as far as removing some food items from the menu,” Wabba said.

He noted that as it has been proved from the epidemiology of the COVID-19 pandemic, one unsafe food in any part of the world could be the source of sickness, deaths and massive global socio-economic dislocation and widespread misery.

The NLC president further said that in the global fight to protect food sources, it was important to reach consensus through empirical scientific evidence on a list of harmful agrochemicals and food additives.

He also said it was important to work concertedly and in synergy to eliminate such toxins from the global food chain.

He said that the measure has become crucial given the increasing link between harmful pesticides, herbicides, in-organic fertiliser and additives with some terminal illnesses in human beings.

According to him, this will go a long way to promote global food security, economic prosperity, tourism and sustainable development.

“It is important to develop and enforce global standards that will promote food safety from farm to the table.

“These standards should be structured in a way that it promotes job addition and income preservation.

“Perhaps, a good direction to look at might be the promotion of wholesome organic farming and incentivizing the value chain, both knowledge and material, to make organic farming practicable, scalable and profitable,” he said.

The labour leader added that the role of increased organising of agricultural workers and robust cooperation between the social partners in facilitating these goals cannot be over-emphasised.

“This is because food safety is a shared responsibility between governments, producers, agricultural workers and consumers of agricultural products, ” he said.

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