NIGERIA – The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in collaboration with other institutions has developed five new standards on indigenous foods as it seeks to promote the government agenda on economic diversification through agriculture.

The Vanguard reports that the on-going development of the Standards also seeks to promote the application of research and technology to boost the production of foods for local consumption and export.

Speaking during the first Technical Committee (TC) meeting on food technology standards in 2019 in Lagos, SON Director General, Osita Aboloma unveiled that the standards will also promote the nation’s ambitions of being in the fore front of promoting indigenous production of food.

Aboloma highlighted the five new standards to include: standard for packaged millet flour for pap, standard for corn pap powder, standard for packaged sorghum powder for pap, standard for fonio flour (Acha flour) and standard for Acha.

The technical committee is comprised of stakeholders, Institutions and regulatory bodies in the food industry.

These include Federal Produce Department, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), NASCO Foods and the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

According to Aboloma, the technical committee meeting is to also reiterate Nigerian stakeholders’ relevance in food standardisation.

Dr. Mrs. Omolara Okunlola, SON’s Group Head, Food Technology, further said that the standards would provide necessary guide to manufacturers, promote fair trade practices and assist statutory regulatory activities.

Aboloma charged the committee to critically look into emerging concerns in food safety, food quality and fair trade practices to so as not only to strengthen the economy but to enhance the productivity of the food sector.

The TC Chairman, Prof. Charles Ariahu of the Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Agriculture, Markurdi, promised that the committee will carry out its responsibilities diligently.

He enjoined members of the TC to ensure strict compliance with the Standards’ development guidelines and endeavour to contribute their opinions and positions freely.

According to him, some of the products to be considered are indigenous, have been in existence over the years and are already being traded across borders, thus the need for approved specifications to serve as benchmarks.

Other institutions in the Technical Committee include the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, OLAM Foods, Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (IPAN), Nestle Foods and Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).