With the recent rash of ban on the
nation’s agro exports, Dean, School of Basic and Applied Sciences, Babcock University, Ilishan Remo, Ogun State, Prof.
Dele Fapohunda hasexpressed concerns about the safety of export produce.
Non-oil exports from Nigeria continue to face mass rejection at entry points in many countries in Europe for failure by exporters to comply with standards specified by the countries. The rejected
exports are mainly in the food and
beverage segment. The reasons for their rejection include the inability of exporters to adhere to global standards, poor packaging, and high level of chemicals, poor labelling, insufficient information on nutritional content, presence of high level of pesticide residue and presence of mycotoxins.
According to him, there was need to strengthen programmes for insuring the safety of exports to prevent rejection of unsafe ones.
He said the situation called for total quality control programme through the introduction of requisite institutions to the seaports.
Returning agencies such as National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to the seaports, according to him, would help prevent unsafe food exports from getting out of the country.
He said the agencies have responsibility to protect the public and environmental food health of the country. This because they carry out a range of safety controls, including checks on exported food, inspecting ships and aircraft for food safety and infectious disease control, as
well as general public and environmental safety checks.
At present, European Union (EU) is one of the largest importers of agro exports from Nigeria. Despite the beneficial health effects, there is a growing awareness concerning its microbial and chemical food safety.
The number of rejections ofexport produce due to non-compliance with EU requirements also increased dramatically during the last few years. Stringent food
safety requirements, both from a
legislative and private nature, are
identified as important bottlenecks to gain access to the high value EU market.