Food safety is human safety

The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the National Public Health Institute of Liberia or NPHIL, line ministries and agencies as well as local and international partners launches the National Codex Committee (NCC) in Monrovia.

The NCC, working along with various partners seeks to have Liberia’s draft food law and national standards act legislated. Liberia reportedly joined the International Codex Alimentarius in 1971. But the country had never participated in Codex activities. The Codex Alimentarius or “Food Code” is a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of practice adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Com-mission or CAC, which is the central part of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Program established by both institutions to protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade.

We need an active food safety and national commodity standards policy in place immediate-ly, not only to protect public safety, but public health. Food and other consumables in our country should meet health and safety standards.

Over the years, Liberia seems to have become dumpsite for substandard and expired products coming from abroad, including food items and fake drugs, among others. Some of these products have contributed to the death of many persons, particularly underprivileged Liberi-ans, who rush for such items because of their cheap prices in the market.

The public should beware! Compromising health and safety for cheap price is counterproduc-tive to healthy living and human lives. What we consume as a people would go a very long way in determining the health of our society.

It is in this vine that we welcome the formal launch of the NCC in Liberia to help put in place safety and regulatory measures that would guide what is being imported here for public con-sumption.

We challenge the Ministry of Health to work along with partners to improve food safety and health across the country, particularly in the capital, Monrovia where almost everything goes. In the streets, food items – biscuits, juices, apples, energy drinks and poultry products, among others are being sold and consumed by the public regardless of their safety quality.

It appears as though relevant authorities responsible to monitor food quality for public con-sumption are non-existent in Liberia. This has to change. Lest we should forget, food safety promotes a healthy society. The soonest we can legislate the draft food law and national standards act the better it would be not only for the current generation, but the future of Liberia.

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