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Thursday, February 19, 2015

NAFDAC to Set Pace For Food Safety In Africa.

    By Martins Ifijeh
Barely two weeks after the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United States Pharmacopeia (USP) awarded National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) with ISO/IEC 17025:2005 certification, the agency is on the verge of being declared the regional centre for food safety, a feat that has never been attained in the country. This is as its food laboratory in Oshodi has been pre-selected by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as Africa’s Regional Designated Centre (RDC) for food safety.
While announcing the international body’s intention, experts of IAEA, Prof. Eric Mitema and Ardjouma Dembele, in collaboration, said they are sure that Nigeria will meet the basic requirements needed for its approval as Africa’s RDC for food safety. They spoke during the media briefing of the pre-selection phase in Lagos recently.
Mitema explained that it will mean that the agency can generate money for the country
through various dealings that would be carried out in the food centre ranging from IAEA sending students from different countries for training and recommending the centre to other food and drug bodies such that their products can be certified here in Nigeria.
Describing the pre-selection phase as a road to a landmark achievement, the NAFDAC boss, Dr. Paul Orhii said the agency will serve as a regional centre for food safety, where personnel would be trained if its food laboratory is eventually selected.
He said: “selected RDC will be one of the region’s leaders and models in food safety through application of nuclear and closely related techniques on the continent as well as provide training to other member states in the region among others.” The DG also noted that by this accreditation, it will be a source of revenue to his agency and the country.
Orhii also observed that the specific tasks of the expert mission are to evaluate institutions based on human capacity availability – number of various scientists, professionals, administrative, technical and support staff on job training opportunities, number of Master or Doctoral students and any scientific publications from the institutions among other issues.
“The IAEA experts assignment also involve assessment of infrastructure availability, examples are number of training facilities, laboratories, GLP compliances, ISO standards, SOP manuals, seminar rooms, number and model of major equipment/ infrastructure including software and so on,” Orhii said.Other tasks of the IAEA experts, the NAFDAC boss said are: institutional and laboratory management assessment.
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