Education

Food Safety, a Shared Responsibility for All, Says FUNAAB’s 90th Inaugural Lecturer 

A renowned expert in Food Microbiology and Safety, Prof. Adebukunola Omemu,  has identified food safety as a critical responsibility that requires a collaborative effort from all stakeholders involved in the food supply chain, from farm to fork.

Prof. Omemu made this revelation during the 90th Inaugural Lecture of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), titled “The Safe Journey of Food from Farm To Fork,” held on May 22, 2024, at the Oluwafemi Balogun Ceremonial Building.

In her lecture, Prof. Omemu stated that food safety was not a destination but a journey, likening the process to a relay race where the baton representing safe food is passed from one participant to the other.

According to her, by working together, each stakeholder strengthens the chain of food safety thereby preventing lapses that could lead to contamination and illness.

Prof. Omemu who is also the current Dean, College of Food Science and Human Ecology (COLFHEC), highlighted the need for responsible human intervention through diligent practices, robust regulations, and consumer awareness to safeguard the food journey.

The University’s 90th Inaugural Lecturer, underscored the prevalent vulnerabilities in food safety, calling for diligent farm practices, rigorous protocols, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), and constant vigilance.

She, therefore, advocated for active involvement from the government and policymakers in establishing and enforcing food safety regulations through inspections and penalties.

Prof. Omemu emphasised the importance of government funding for food safety research and investment in training programmes for food industry personnel and consumers.

Promoting sustainable agricultural practices and fostering collaborations between public health, animal health, and agriculture were crucial steps toward achieving a truly safe food system, she stressed.

Prof. Omemu also called on local authorities to consider informal agents as partners in local development initiatives and to create policies and programmes that enable efficient informal sector activities while minimising societal risks.

The Inaugural Lecturer, therefore urged the media to play a vital role in raising public awareness about safe food handling practices and food labelling encouraging consumers to make informed choices based on food labels, practice safe food handling techniques at home, and report any suspected food-borne illnesses.

Earlier in his Introductory Remarks, the Vice-Chancellor and Chairman of the Inaugural Lecture, Prof. Babatunde Kehinde lauded Prof. Omemu for her notable contributions to the University, including her roles as the first female Dean of Student Affairs, First MSc graduate of FUNAAB and the first female Deputy Dean of the Postgraduate School, among others.

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