1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Unsafe Food Marketing and its Economic Implication in Nigeria
Agriculture and the food industry have remained strategic sectors of the economy of many nations. Agriculture plays a vital role in human development, growth and survival of nations. The issues of food production in terms of availability, accessibility, wholesomeness and nutrient quality has been the concern of many developing nations. “Food” is any substance or material eaten to provide nutritional support for the body and usually consists of plant or animal origin that contains essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins or minerals. Foods are product derived from plants or animals that can be taken into the body to yield energy and nutrients for the maintenance of life and the growth and repair of tissues (Whitney and Rolfes, 2005).
Food is a commodity which contain nutrients and is thus nutritive, susceptible of satisfying appetite, thus palatable and accepted as food in the society being considered thus customary. Safety is defined as setting standards for toxicological and microbiological hazards, and instituting procedures and practices to ensure that the standards are achieved (FAO/WHO, 1991).
Food safety therefore describes the handling, preparation and storage of food in ways that prevent food borne illness and it is also the assurance that food will not cause harm to the consumer when it is prepared and/or eaten according to its intended use. This include a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards (FAO/WHO, 1992).
Food is a necessity and accounts for significant expenditure in households all over the world. It features prominently in both national and international commerce. Food affect our biological life as well as our material interest. The task of keeping our food supply steady and safe is therefore, an important issue concerning all. Food safety is a complex and diversified subject, involving the cooperation of scientists, industrialists, agriculturalists, businessmen, administrators and consumers (FAO/WHO, 1980).
At the heart of all food control activities is the establishment of safety, quality and labeling standards. These should be established on the broadest possible scale, in the recognition that food production and marketing is truly a global industry. A food is said to have quality if it provides sensory characteristics such as the taste, aroma, palatability and appearance.
Food quality is the multi-component measure of the extent to which the units of a food product which a seller is willing and able to offer at a price, consistently meet the requirements and expectations of consumers willing and able to buy the food product at that price. Quality of a given product may be looked at as its conformity to a given level of excellence which represent particular standards or specifications with minimum cost to the producer and is believed to be satisfactory with the consumer in general.
Contamination of food and feeds makes them both to be unsafe for consumption and is a very serious issue everywhere. In many developing countries where the need to eat may outweigh concerns about food safety, it is a particularly serious problem with increase globalization.
The problem with food is that although man harvests or hunts food for his own personal consumption, there are many other living organisms that try to use this food for their own use. This includes organism that range from large animals through small forms of life such as insects, down to microscopic forms of life such as bacteria. Food contamination creates an enormous social and economic burden on communities and their health systems.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Dried fish easily absorbs moisture during handling and storage especially when the relative humidity is high. This occurs when the dried fish absorbs moisture from its immediate environment, thereby resulting in increase water activity which causes mould growth and spoilage.
There is the incidence of insect and rodent attacks on dried fish during handling which causes further contamination by micro organism. This necessitates the application of insecticides to preserve dried fish during marketing. Application of insecticide or pesticide has safety implications on the side of consumers because of possible food poisoning arising from residual action of insecticides.
The economic impact of contaminated foods is devastating. Developing countries with limited resources lose foreign exchange as a result of rejected food exports to developed countries (FAO/WHO 1992). The economy of a nation can suffer greatly from loss of confidence from trading partners. Furthermore, victims of food borne illnesses suffer from physical and emotional distress and the cost of treatment and loss of wages are a burden to the nation.
Effective food safety control system in developing countries can make a major contribution by reducing food losses through insect attack and contamination. The study will address the following research questions:
What are the factors militating against food safety among dried fish sellers in the study area?
What is the cost implication of food safety among dried fish marketers?
What are the possible ways of improving safety practices of dried fish?
What are the causes of dried fish poisoning in the study area?
Is dried fish marketing profitable?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective is to carry out analysis of food safety among dried fish sellers in Akure, Ondo State. The specific objectives are to:
examine the socioeconomic characteristics of dried fish sellers.
identify the safety practices of dried fish sellers.
estimate the cost of food safety among dried fish marketers.
identify the problems of dried fish marketing among the sellers.
1.4 Justification of the Study
Agriculture and food security provide the springboard for health via adequacy as in quantity available with emphasis on quality depicted by nutrition and food safety.
Unsafe food causes many acute and life-long diseases, ranging from diarrhoeal diseases to various forms of cancer. WHO estimates that food borne and water borne diarrhoeal diseases taken together kill about 2.2 million people annually, 1.9 million of them children most of whom are in developing countries.
In order to enhance food safety, the amount of resources used and the efficiency of production are contingent upon use of appropriate technologies, infrastructure, storage, processing, marketing and transportation.
At the end of this research, it is believed that the result of this research will not only provide useful information for participating and intending sellers and consumers of dried fish but will also provide information for future researchers, extension agents and policy makers in finding long lasting solutions to the various problems of food safety among the dried fish sellers.