NIGERIA – Nigeria’s Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA) has commenced a sanitisation process to ensure of safety in the fruit and vegetable sector in the Lagos State, reports Beverage Industry News.

LASCOPA, working in collaboration with other Ministries and Agencies of Government has inaugurated a committee to oversee handling, packaging, and display of vegetables and fruits practices and ensure they are done in accordance with acceptable standards.

Speaking at the inauguration of the committee members, General Manager of LASCOPA, Mrs. Kemi Olugbode said that the committee will also device managing and preventive issues to be applied in the sector.

The committee will focus on the handling and marketing practices of fruits and vegetables so as to ensure that only healthy products are sold to consumers.

She urged the committee to work assiduously and come up with a strategy on how to effectively address the challenge of the sale of unwholesome fruits and vegetables in the State.

According to Mrs. Kemi, LASCOPA has identified a total of 24 fruit-markets as major locations for the distribution of various fruits and vegetables across the State.

Olugbode implored the members to work in consonance with the Executives of the various Fruits and Vegetables Market Associations in the State to ensure proper sensitisation as well as train traders to adhere to stipulated standards.

Mrs. Mosumola Samuel – a representative of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) as well as a Board Member of LASCOPA – said that consumption of fruits and vegetables are important commodities in the national food basket and therefore their safety and wholesomeness is paramount.

The mandate of the Committee includes addressing the current unhygienic packaging, handling and ripening of fruits with unhealthy substances, lack of proper storage facilities, unhygienic environments for sales and display of the products.

Members of the Project technical working committee comprise of representatives of LASCOPA, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Lagos State Market Board and the Ministry of Wealth Creation.