As one hundred and fifty countries across the globe mark this year’s World Food Day, a day set aside to raise awareness on the issue of hunger and healthy food habits for all, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor of Bayelsa State on Tourism, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo, has cautioned the public against buying food from uncertified food vendors, calling on regulatory authorities to ensure that food vendors maintain high standard of personal hygiene.
Mr Kiyaramo regretted that many lives have been lost because of foodborne illnesses pointing out that it is the responsibility of relevant government agencies and departments to certify food handlers across board to prevent foodborne illnesses.
The governor’s aide who spoke with travel writers in Bayelsa State at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Azikoro Road, Yenagoa, described the theme for this year’s World Food Day: “Safe food now for a healthy tomorrow” as a caution for citizens to pay due attention to food safety and sanitation.
He explained that food tourism represents a topical concern for destination mangers because food consumption is one of the indispensable aspects of the tourism industry, adding that: “Because food has been a key attraction for travelers, many destinations have tried to offer special culinary experiences to tourists. Local food can enhance the image of a destination because food is a representation of national, regional, and personal identities.”
The SSA noted that the theme of this year World Food Day is based on appreciating the individuals who have contributed to creating sustainable surroundings where no one is left hungry, warning that the public should be mindful of food from street food vendors whose health status are not usually certified.
“Health, they say is wealth, and as such, it is a great wealth to live a healthy life. As each day passes buy, with the hustle and rustle of the day, an average Nigerian ends up buying food/snacks from roadside vendors in order to quench the appetite.
“Sometimes you do not know the conditions in which such foods have been prepared, neither do you care to find out, as long as we are satisfied with the taste and quantity.
“It is worthy of note that the location and health status of food vendors are sometimes unknown,” Mr Kiyaramo reiterated.
The Bayelsa State Governor’s aide stressed that food safety and hygiene are of utmost importance when considering protection of the health of consumers, adding that healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.