FAO Pledges Support For Food Safety In Liberia
The Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Liberia, Mariatou Njie, has pledged the UN agency’s commitment to support food safety in the country.
Madam Njie stressed that food safety, improved food security and nutrition are recognized as important for the overall development of the nation.The FAO official made the statement Wednesday at a program marking the launch of the Strengthening National Control System in Liberia to ensure safety of foods and improve trade in Liberia held at a local hotel in Monrovia.
According to her, foods have been highlighted among the long-term foundational issues in national economic development and the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development as key issue to be addressed by the national government.
“It is very important to be reminded that with an estimated 600 million cases of food-borne illnesses annually, unsafe food is a threat to human health and economies globally,” she added.
Madam Njie indicated that in the World Health Organization(WHO) African region, more than 91 million people fall ill and 137,000 die every year, representing one-third of the global death toll for food-borne diseases, noting that with such high numbers of food-borne diseases, strengthening food control systems at the national level is key.
She noted that like several other countries in the African region, Liberia faces a number of obstacles and challenges affecting the capacity to ensure the safety of food produced or imported.
The UN official pointed out that these should include policy and legal frameworks, food control functions, interaction with stakeholders, and science and knowledge-base such as risk-based approach to food safety management.
Madam Njie maintained that it is possible to design necessary measures to mitigate the risk of being sick from the consumption of unsafe food in the country, stressing that Liberia has already taken a step forward in drafting a food safety law.
“For the FAO, food safety is very important in the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the realization of the main objectives of the United Nations Decade on Action on Nutrition,” she said.