Overview of Nigerian Food Safety Legislation

In addition to a desk review of food safety legislation, regulations, and standards in Nigeria, EatSafe consulted with food safety stakeholders to obtain their opinions. This involved virtual and in-person meetings with officials in relevant government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, NGOs, and food business operators in the Federal Capital Territory, Kebbi, and Nasarawa States. Findings revealed that Nigeria currently operates a multiple agency Food Safety Control System which is mostly sectorial in nature. Many of the definitions of terminologies used in the body of the legislation are often vague, confusing, and not fully aligned with Codex or other international standard bodies. Of the existing legislations relating to food safety, 14 out of 16 (87.5%) were enacted 10 to 100 years ago, and some are overdue for review or repeal. Nigeria’s Food Safety and Quality Bill produced in 2016 is still awaiting passage into law (Act) in the National Assembly as HB.19.01.1598 as at the time of this study. Nonetheless, Nigeria needs to maintain effective food safety legislation and the accompanying regulations and guidelines. Moreover, the legislation should adequately address the whole range of food safety concerns in the food supply chain; including the traditional food sector that has been hitherto neglected.

This article was adapted from an EatSafe program report.