Professor Morenike Dipeolu, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, has said the country’s plan to achieve a high level of food safety and quality of life may not be achievable, unless the current challenges militating against the establishment, management hygienic abattoirs are addressed.
Professor Dipeolu who stated this in Abuja at the 2019 Food Safety Symposium organised by Nigeria Agriculture Quarantine Services (NAQS) and Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA), decried the deplorable and decrepit state of nation’s abattoirs.
She explained that abattoirs and slaughterhouses are registered facilities designated for food animal inspections – prior and post slaughtering to ensure meat consumed by the public are hygienic, safe and wholesome.
She lamented that “food animals in Nigeria are raised under harsh environment, such as poor management and hygiene conditions, inadequate bio-security and disease control guidelines,” adding that there is a close connection between animal welfare, animal health and food-borne diseases.
Professor Dipeolu noted that abattoirs are characterised by dilapidated and inadequate infrastructure and equipment, inadequate ante-mortem and post mortem inspection, poor abattoir waste management, unavailability of potable water, unhygienic transportation of meat carcasses as well as lack of data management and disease surveillance systems.
She, however, called for implementation and enforcement of existing legislative framework to ensure food safety of animal origin, adding that there was the need to amend obsolete laws and make provisions for global changes or emerging trends in food safety and practice.
In his address, the Director General of NAQS, Dr Vincent Isegbe lamented that veterinarians over the years have relegated their roles and mandate to the society.
Isegbe noted that due to nonchalant attitude of veterinarians, a lot of things have gone wrong in the profession, adding that meat inspection is carried out by non-professionals who are not qualified.
He further added that some state governments have less than three veterinarians on their employment, adding that in this scenario, it is extremely difficult for veterinarians to perform optimally.