Over the years, so much emphasis has been placed on packaged foods certified by government regulatory bodies and so much neglect on street foods which is more patronized than packaged foods. This became a great concern for NIFST as the processing and handling of these street foods have caused so much harm to lives through inadvertent contamination and food poisoning
HOW IT STARTED
At several meetings of the Lagos chapter, issues were discussed on various contaminated foods, fake products, and poor handling and processing of local foods by street food vendors.
At the February 2017 meeting held at FIIRO, a presentation was made by Mrs. Jane Omojokun on food safety. During the questions and answers session, Mrs. Ifeoma Ugbo raised concerns about the safety of street foods and emphasized that NIFST should take responsibility in that regard.
Mr. Sola Olawale (FNIFST), a past President of NIFST, concurred with the idea and suggested that various groups should be created without delay. Thus the following groups were created:
- Akara headed by Ms. Blessing Onojeide,
- Suya headed by Mr. Abdul Rauph Egbewole,
- Dundu headed by Mrs. Jane Omojokun and
Members were fixed into these groups to come up with ideas on the way forward through the presentation. Mr. Sola Olawale emphasized that street food safety must always be included in the agenda for chapter meetings. Mr. Bamgbose, the then Chapter Chairman, initiated the set-up of a committee with members that are willing to join. About 10 members volunteered and a WhatsApp group was set up to kick-start. Fruits and vegetables were included later. SOPs and flow charts were developed for the processes.
Mr. Abdul Rauph Egbewole, the pioneer chairman, did a lot to ensure the committee stayed focused by always calling for meetings, taking action plans, encouraging the committee members, initiating training, and pushing for the best outcome.
Mr. Sola Olawale was a key factor in the success of the committee. He was very interested in hearing reports on street food safety at every meeting. He made it clear that on no condition must it be omitted from the agenda until the purpose was achieved. The Suya and Akara groups made several presentations at the beginning until the chapter merged the committees into one. It was named STREET FOOD SAFETY (SFS) and those trained for the execution of the project was called SFS CHAMPIONS.
To this effect, NIFST took it upon herself to start an awareness program to do the following;
- Make NIFST known to all
- Enlighten street food vendors on personal hygiene, sanitation, and basic food safety
- Discourage the use of harmful chemicals to preserve or ripen foods
- Encourage the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) at the cost they can afford
- Discourage the use of drugs as tenderizers for food
- Ensuring that these vendors know that the safety of food is everybody’s business
- Discourage all hazardous ways of handling and processing foods and more as the need arises.
TOOK THE BULL BY THE HORN
After training two sets of Champions (about 20) the awareness program kicked off in May 2018 with the collaboration of some local governments (seven) in Lagos state. The Nigerian Police Force Lagos command was also contacted, and they issued a permit for us and provided security coverage where necessary. It was a huge success as vendors were yearning to learn more about food safety and personal hygiene.
The SFS champions donated free PPEs and aprons to the Food vendors during visits to the markets.
This has extended to other chapters of NIFST, and the effect has been very encouraging.
1ST SET OF TRAINED CHAMPIONS
2ND SET OF TRAINED PIONEERS
The team commemorated the first World Food Safety Day 2019 at Kairo Market Oshodi, Lagos the joy of market women and men knew no bounds as they wanted a continuous visitation. Some other chapters of NIFST also marked the First World Food Safety Day in Kano, Abuja, etc. Fliers on Food Safety developed by the Immediate Past Chairman, Mr. Jude Mordi, were shared with food vendors.
MAIDEN FOOD SAFETY ADVOCACY AT KAIRO MARKET
In 2018 the Pioneer Chairman of SFS made presentations on the activities of the team at the NIFST National conferences in Abeokuta. These presentations attracted a Research program from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
In 2020 the team marked the 2nd World Food Safety Day in collaboration with Lagos State Safety Commission and the Market Men /Women in some of the markets in Lagos.
The team represented by the Chairman made a presentation at the Lagos Safety Commission virtual commemoration of the 2nd World Food Safety Day in June 2020.
In 2019 and 2020 the team members were utilized for the collaborative research project (the project title was “Increasing green leafy vegetable consumption through street food dishes in Lagos Nigeria” between NIFST and WUeR of Netherlands. The project which was coordinated by trained Street Food Safety Champions was very successful such that NIFST got financial gains. The success recorded gave birth to another stage of similar research in Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. The manuscript BFJ-06-2023-0504.R1 of the first stage of the collaborative research has been approved for publication by the British Food Journal.
The SFS champions made a presentation to the National Association of Food Science and Technology Students (NAFSTS) during their 2020 annual conference The students used the opportunity to launch the Food Safety Club to domesticate the activities of the SFS in all the higher institutions offering Food Science and Technology. The students promised to give feedback at the next conference of NIFST in Makurdi 2021
The SFS team has developed a template for setting up Food Safety clubs in secondary schools as a follow-up to the Career talks and annual Schools’ debate on food science and technology.
The mantle of leadership was handed over to Mr. Abayomi Abiru in February 2022 to continue steering the activities of the SFS. The committee visited Oko-Oba Market in Agege to celebrate the year’s World Food Safety Day by organizing a street food safety awareness campaign on 7th June 2022. The permission of the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture was sought on 28th March 2022, and the same was given on 25th May 2022. Some SFSC members visited the abattoir on 17 May 2022 to meet with the necessary stakeholders as a way of smoothening the reception for the campaign. The campaign was held as planned on 7th June 2022 with 25 attendees which included 21 NIFSTers, a veterinarian attached to the abattoir, and three representatives of Global Sights Services Limited.
WORLD FOOD SAFETY DAY 2022 AT OKO-OBA ABATTOIR, AGEGE
In September 2022, the team visited the Perishable Goods Market, Ketu in collaboration with the Professional Association of Public Health Nurses of Nigeria (PAPHNON), Lagos State Chapter.
KETU FRUIT MARKET ADVOCACY
2023 ACTIVITIES THUS FAR
- 10th April 2023 – Organized an interactive webinar in collaboration with the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), represented by its Deputy DG, Ms. Omowumi Olumide Obidiran. Co-hosted by the pioneer SFS Chairman, Mr. Abdul Rauph Egbewole.
- 29th April 2023 – delivered an online training for Street Food Champions and other NIFSTers tagged – TRAINING MANUAL FOR STREET FOOD VENDORS. Anchored by Mrs. Kikelomo Amoreoluwa, Vice Chairman NIFST Lagos Chapter.
2023 WORLD FOOD SAFETY DAYROADSHOW FROM FIIRO TO OSHODI
- 7th June 2023 – Collaborated with the Professional Association of Public Health Nurses of Nigeria (PAPHNON), Lagos State Chapter. Over 40 people were in attendance. Live band and LASTMA officers escorted the group. NIFST and Public Health Nurses also gave some health talks at Oshodi. Flyers were distributed for sensitization. The World Health Organization featured the event on its website hhttps://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/news-and-events/news-details/en/c/1641903/details/en/c/1641903/ and Flickr.
- There was also a webinar in the evening, titled “Vital Roles of Food Standards in Saving Lives”. The webinar was anchored by Ms. Blessing Onojeide and had the following presenters:
- Adedayo Odugbemi
- Patricia Asante-Frempong
- Christopher Fregene
- Abayomi Abiru
- 15th July 2023 – Organized another webinar titled “Culture: A Lasting Solution to Street Food Safety Challenges” presented by Mr. Adejare Olawale Adegbuyi and anchored by the SFS Chairman, Mr. Abayomi Abiru.
- 1st September 2023 – Members of the SFS Committee, represented by Dr. Nureni Opaleye and Mrs. Kikelomo Amoreoluwa, were invited to speak on “Food Safety and Food Fraud” on a National Radio Station (FAAJI FM106.5 FM). The Committee has started discussions to start a weekly Food Safety Advocacy Program in local languages on the This is targeted at educating the grassroots on food safety issues
- Quarterly visit and follow-up on Lagos markets.
- Procurement and distribution of PPEs, Safety Tips Flyers, NIFST-branded aprons, umbrellas, and hairnets, and show glass boxes to Street Food Vendors as a token from the Institute.
- Television programs and Radio jingles on Food Safety.
- Getting collaboration with Government regulatory bodies.
- Partnering with food industries and other stakeholders.
- Involving more NIFSTers in Street Food Safety Advocacy Initiatives across the country
- Start Food Safety Clubs (SFC) in secondary schools and higher institutions in Nigeria.
- Set up food safety club in the NYSC in each state of Nigeria
- Proper Funding of the Street Food Safety Initiative.
- Collaborate with NIFST Ikeja Zone to fine-tune the “MY FOOD AND I” campaign for schools in Lagos by seeking blanket approval from the Lagos State Ministry of Education and working with all zones to emulate Ikeja Zone
CHAPTER CHAIRMAN THAT CONTRIBUTED TO SFS GROWTH
SFC GOVERNANCE TEAM AND PIONEER MEMBERS
OTHER SFS MEMBERS
Abdul Rauph Egbewole FNIFST
(Pioneer Chairman, Street Food Safety Committee)
Nurudeen Abayomi Abiru MNIFST
(Chairman, Street Food Safety Committee)