The Cross River State Food Safety Bill on Tuesday in Calabar scaled through second reading in the State Huse of Assembly. The bill was sponsored by Dr Itam Abang, member representing Boki 1 State Constituency in the assembly.
During presentation, Itam explained that the bill was necessitated upon the poor sanitation and hygiene of food vendors in the state.
The lawmaker who said that there were numerous food vendors with great patronage from both Crossriverians and visitors, however lamented that there was no legislation to check the process of production before consumption.
According to her, most major health challenges were caused by contaminated foods.
She added that the bill seeks to address all sorts of unsanitized and consumable food items sold to the public.
The lawmaker recalled an arduous scenario where she bought a fresh fish from the market but could not eat it because it was caught from a contaminated water and as such not healthy for consumption.
“This bill seeks to address the processes of food production in the state with a view to promote healthy living.
“Some food vendors are only interested in making profit without considering the health implication of what they serve the public,” she said.
Mr Friday Okpechi, representing Obubra 1 State Constituency, said the bill was timely because Crossriverians consume food on daily basis.
“I recall a scenario where i bought contaminated apple fruits that later gave me stomach upset upon consumption. I later discovered rotten spots in the rest of the other fruits,” he said.
Also contributing, Mr Fred Osim, representing Ikom 1 State Constituency, suggested that the bill should also bother on areas of sensitization on what was fit for consumption.
Osim stated that most of the big hotels in the state have poorly hygiene kitchens, appealing that the bill should emphasize routine checks on public kitchens.
Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Eteng Jonah-Williams, who lauded the sponsor of the bill and members for their contributions, said the bill was important because food hygiene was key to healthy living.
He referred the bill to the House Committee on Water Supply, Sanitation and Environmental Matters, to be reported back to the assembly in three weeks.
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