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Don Canvasses Safe Management of Food Waste Towards Maintaining Food Quality, Safety, Economic Rebound

The management of food waste is a critical component of safe food, as waste not properly managed could constitute a safety challenge to the environment and compromise food quality and safety. This assertion was made by Professor Solomon Oranusi, a professor of microbiology at Covenant University, Ota, when he delivered the 28th Inaugural Lecture of the University last Friday, June 24, 2022.

Professor Oranusi, delivering a lecture titled "Safe Food for Sustainable Development of the Packets of Microorganisms Guided by Divine Essence", said over 50% of the food consumed in Nigeria is of satisfactory microbial load. However, poor environmental sanitation and personal hygiene of food handlers are the bane of food produced and consumed in Nigeria. He called for the education of food handlers, regular inspection of the foodservice environment, and enforcement of food safety rules and regulations to ensure compliance with best hygiene practices.

Professor Oranusi said while microorganisms can be found almost everywhere, including in extreme environments where other living things cannot survive, and by scientific account, they are the first living things to always occupy any habitat, they are the best indicator that any system (planet) is able to sustain life. They hold the key to healthy and wealthy living.

Professor Oranusi, who is the current Head of the Department of Biological Sciences, averred that an understanding of the relationship between food and microorganisms is vital to maximizing the merits and demerits inherent in the relationship and to utilizing the full potential of the microbes and foods for the benefit of man.

He decried the condemning of locally produced products in preference to imported ones as a disservice to Nigeria. According to him, locally produced beverages such as Kunun-Zaki, Zobo, Tiger-nut drink, Smoothie, amongst others, are 100% more nutritious and microbiologically healthier than any soft drink in our market.

"Can you imagine how many people will be off the unemployment market and how many multi-millionaires will emerge if we patronize our local products the way we patronize the coloured sugar water we all consume as drinks with no nutritional value and terrible health consequences," he submitted.

Professor Oranusi called upon government and regulatory agencies to embark upon intensive education of food handlers on best hygiene practices as it relates to safe foods; good manufacturing practices; regular inspection of production facilities to ensure compliance with standard specifications; and consistent microbiological testing of food items, specifically at the consumer level, is advised to help food personnel adhere to standard specifications; these were some of the recommendations he suggested. 

In his welcome remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abiodun H. Adebayo, said the quality of food and diet are critical to healthy living. Citing the 2020 Global Nutrition Report, he stated that poor diet is the leading cause of death and disease worldwide when compared to other major global health challenges.

Professor Adebayo was of the view that the concept of healthy food for sustainable development objectives is to ensure sufficient food and access to high quality and nutritious foods for the expanded population, and critical to this objective is an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the role of microorganisms in producing healthy foods.

He said that microorganisms, despite their small size, are critical to food production and processing as nature uses microorganisms to carry out fermentation processes, which transform and preserve food to improve its nutritional qualities. "A well conducted fermentation will favour useful flora to the detriment of undesirable flora in order to prevent spoilage and promote taste and texture," he posited.

The 28th Inaugural Lecture was the third from the Department of Biological Sciences at Covenant University.

 

Download this Inaugural lecture

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