By Oluwatope Lawanson
L-R: Mr Afolabi Solebo, General Manager (LASCOPA); Moyosore Onigbanjo, Attorney General, Commissioner for Justice and Dr Lola Akande, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives
Dr Lola Akande, Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, says the state government will not hesitate to deal with anyone who undermines the consumer rights law.
Akande gave the warning at the first edition of Food Safety Conference and Exhibition organised by Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA) on Wednesday.
The theme of the conference was: “Food safety – What is the right consumers need to know.”
According to the commissioner, food safety is a shared responsibility between government, producers and consumers.
She noted that everybody had a role to play in ensuring that food consumed was safe.
Akande said government would remain committed to the protection, welfare and well-being of consumers.
The commissioner, however, urged consumers to ensure that they have information about the food they intend to consume by reading labels on food packages.
“This is with reference to the expiry date, storage, shell life and other information to make required choices.
“Ask questions and become knowledgeable regarding common hazards, know how to decrease and control microbiological contamination when handling food.
“Also, it is necessary that consumers know the keys to safer food at home and in the food service industry such as the correct handling, preparation and storage of various food products,’’ she said.
Dr Olugbenga Ogunmoyela of Bells University, Ota, Ogun, called for infrastructure upgrade in traditional markets to ensure food safety.
Ogunmoyela, also a food safety expert, noted that the upgrade would improve and safe-guard lives and property in the traditional food markets.
“Consumers need to be continuously educated and enlightened on how to make healthier food choices.
“Also, government must put resources for training of all stakeholders to ensure that they collaborate in improving the health consciousness of consumers and thus create stronger and healthier food systems,’’ he said.
Earlier, Mr Afolabi Solebo, General Manager, LASCOPA, assured residents that no stone would be left unturn in ensuring a safe and sound market in the state.
Solebo called on stakeholders in the sector to embrace measures that would guarantee food safety.
He added that access to sufficient amount of safe food was fundamental to life itself.
He said: “Like air and water, food is fundamental to life and unsafe food cannot be treated with levity.
“Food borne diseases caused by chemicals, viruses, bacteria and parasites have sent many to their early graves and still killing more yearly.
“We must ensure that preventable food issues do not result in any more loss of life or the outbreak of serious health complications,’’ he said.