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A Professor of Public Health, University of Ilorin, Tanimola Akande has estimated that over 200,000 Nigerians die from complications of food-borne diseases every year.
Prof. Akande warned against the intake of unhealthy food specifically the ones prepared by the road side.
The University Don who spoke exclusively with PLATFORM TIMES identified vomiting, abdominal cramps and fever as common symptoms attached with food borne-diseases.
“The illnesses can vary from mild to moderate and to severe cases. If severe, it can lead to death within a few hours particularly if caused by toxins. An estimated over 200,000 deaths yearly in Nigeria are attributable to food-borne illnesses.
“They present with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, bloody stool, etc. The symptoms may last days and some may be very short.
“Food-borne illnesses are often a challenge with roadside food vendors. Most of them do not practice food hygiene. They expose food to contamination by viruses, bacteria, and parasites. The food sold by the roadside is often in unhygienic places that attract flies” Mr Akande said.
In another development, Esther Oyewole, a Dietician at the Federal Medical Center, Abeokuta advised consumers of road side food to enquire nutrition information of the food before consuming it.
“Consumers have the power to demand safe and healthy food. Consumers need access to timely, clear, and reliable information about the nutritional and disease risks associated with their food choices” Mrs Oyewole said.
The Dietician called for establishment of policies that will promote food security.
Mrs Oyewole urged the government to cooperate with health stakeholders in other to find lasting solution to food insecurity.
“Consumers need to be empowered to make healthy food choices for themselves and support sustainable food systems for the planet.
“To help lower this number, policy-makers can promote sustainable agriculture and food systems, fostering collaboration among public health, animal health, agriculture, and other sectors. Countries can also comply with international standards established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
“So, food safety is a shared responsibility. Governments, regional economic bodies, United Nations organizations, development agencies, trade organizations, consumer and producer groups, academic and research institutions, and private sector entities must all work together. Collaboration is needed globally.” She said
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