Over the years, the federal government has been working on reducing drug residue in agricultural produce that are exported from Nigeria. In this piece, JOHN OBA, reports on developing a National Residues Monitoring Plan for honey and other livestock products.
In the past couple of years, the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture have been active in assisting capacity-building for veterinary drug residues monitoring in various developing countries, primarily to facilitate international trade in animal-derived food products. Due to challenges associated with infrastructure, funding and technology transfer, the majority of developing country’s laboratories are limited to setting up screening methods such as microbial inhibition tests.
Concerns about food safety
Several stakeholders in Nigeria food sector have raised concerns about the level of food safety due to the level of drug residues in live stocks just as the government continues to commit to generating knowledge in order to leverage on the potential for increased consumer demand for safe food as it strives to substantially improve the safety of nutritious foods in informal market settings in Nigeria and also boost Nigeria agricultural export especially to the EU.
One of the most talked about food produced across the country is the chemical/drug residues which according to research are ingestion in honey and other animal products which constitutes a potential health hazard for its consumers, including, the possibility of developing multidrug resistance, carcinogenicity, and disruption of intestinal normal microflora.
Some years ago, as part of the conditions to enable Nigeria export its agricultural products to European countries, the European Union demanded that the country comply with global regulatory standards, hence the need for the country to submit its residue monitoring plan in order to be able to export its honey and other livestock products to EU countries.
As a follow-up, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development commenced the development of National Residues Monitoring Plan for honey and other livestock products which will help honey exporters undertake situational analysis, collection of official sampling procedures, sampling level and frequency, methods of analysis, conformance of the sample, traceability and production plans.
The federal government had several years ago, distributed bee keeping, honey processing and laboratory equipment to farmers and research institutes as a means of actualising the plan and ensure food safety.
The procured equipment included modern hives, hives tools, smokers, honey extractors, bee suit, bee wax, rendering machine, laboratory equipment for analysing honey and other hive products.
The National Residue Monitoring Plan (NRMP) is a piece of policy document that enhances operationalization of residue control plan to ensure that honey and livestock produced for both domestic and international markets or imported into the country is safe to eat, and is not contaminated with harmful (drugs/chemical residues) to human health. It also provides the national legal basis for the operationalization of NRCP/NRMP, control of animal remedies and their residues.
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