Avoid storing cooked food in refrigerators for more than three days, NAFDAC warns

NAFDAC D-G, Prof. Moji Adeyeye

The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Moji Adeyeye, has cautioned Nigerians against the practice of storing cooked food in refrigerators for more than three days.

Adeyeye emphasized that cooked food stored in refrigerators for an extended period is susceptible to contamination by disease-causing pathogens, which are key agents of foodborne diseases that can potentially lead to severe health consequences, including death.

Adeyeye made this known in a statement on Tuesday signed by the agency’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola.

Adeyeye, who said this in commemoration of the 2024 World Food Safety Day with the theme, ‘Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected’, urged stakeholders in the food supply chain to take deliberate actions to institute a food safety culture in their operations to mitigate food hazards and risks that could compromise food safety.

The World Food Safety Day celebrated annually on June 7 was established by the United Nations General Assembly task force in 2018 to raise awareness and encourage efforts to prevent, detect and address public health risks linked to unsafe food.

The statement partly read, “She however, urged Nigerians to refrain from storing cooked food in the refrigerator for more than three days, warning that cooked food stored in the refrigerator for days is susceptible to contamination by disease-causing pathogens, key agents of foodborne diseases that can lead to death.”

Adeyeye remarked that food safety is not only important for public health but a sine qua non for economic development and food security.

She noted that food safety is a collective responsibility, adding that everyone from producers to consumers needs to play their part to ensure food safety. 

According to her, the campaign aims to promote global food safety awareness to strengthen efforts of preventing, detecting, and managing foodborne risks globally by highlighting the importance of being prepared for food safety incidents.

“Let us all stay true to the statements ‘food safety is everyone’s business’ and ‘food safety is a shared responsibility’ as we celebrate this year’s World Food Safety Day. Working together, we will continue to strengthen our food safety system, ensuring its resilience, robustness, and preparedness for the unexpected,” she said.

According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 600 million – almost one in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food, and 420,000 die every year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years.

WHO said $110bn is lost yearly in productivity and medical expenses resulting from unsafe food in low- and middle-income countries.

Also, the Director of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Mrs Eva Edwards, alerted that foodborne diseases are expensive, yet they are preventable.

Edwards emphasised the significance of food as a necessity for human life, stressing that it can also be a source of harm if not handled properly.

She stated that food safety emergency response must be anchored on a multisectoral, collaborative, integrated one-health approach across the health, agriculture, and environment sectors, the tiers of government including relevant external partners and non-governmental organisations.

‘’Let’s all play our part in promoting the culture of good hygiene practices in our homes, communities, and food establishments. Together we can ensure a safer and healthier food supply for everyone,” she noted.
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