Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.

The Lagos State Government on Wednesday tasked food handlers and health teachers to step up hygiene in the handling and preparation of food to reduce malnutrition in children across the state.

Speaking at a Sensitization Advocacy workshop for Food Handlers and Health Teachers under the Lagos Central Senatorial District at Surulere, the Permanent Secretary Office of Environmental Services, Mrs Aderonke Odeneye said that the consuming unwholesome food that contains infectious or toxic substances is injurious to health.

The Permanent Secretary said that optimum and good nutrition are expressions that indicate the supply of essential nutrients in adequate proportion, stressing that maintaining the highest standards of hygiene while working with food components reduces the spread and multiplication of pathogenic microorganisms.

Odeneye who spoke on the theme “Multi-Sectoral Strategic Plan of Action and Nutrition” stated that malnutrition and nutrition-related issues are topics of public health concern due to its spread in geometric progression leading to high mortality and morbidity.

“The ministry in performing its responsibility of ensuring quality, safe and hygienic environment has embarked on training of Food Handlers and Health Teachers in Lagos state to ensure compliance with best practices and food security for all stakeholders,” she said.

She maintained that statistics have shown that 50% of cases of children with nutrition-related issues in their first 1000days on earth are due to excessive feeding or underfeeding which results in stunted growth in the children as they grow.

She noted that statistics gathered from routine inspections have shown a decline in compliance to food safety and hygiene which is of great concern to the State, stressing that food-borne diseases are major human health problem occurring both in developed and underdeveloped countries.

A Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry from Lagos State University, Professor Oluwatosin Adu who delivered a lecture, said the problems associated with food safety and poor nutrition are real, adding that adequate nutrition is the business of everyone.

He called on all participants to engage in safe food practice which will in turn help reduce the rate of illness and malnutrition resulting from improper handling of food.

The Sensitization Advocacy programme, which had in attendance School Owners, Health Teachers and Food Handlers from Local Governments under the Lagos Central Senatorial District is the first in the series.