Food Safety Standards Legislations (Laws) and Enforcement Agencies in Nigeria (How to Get Approvals)


Alt: = "NAFDAC and SON Logos"


Food represents one of the largest globally traded commodities and can pose a major safety risk, if not controlled. With globalization, the supply chain needs to be carefully monitored to ensure imports meet food safety regulations and are free from tampering. Generally, safety regulations apply to legislation regulating the production, processing, packaging, labeling, distribution and sell of food. Therefore, it covers the regulation of food control, food safety and relevant aspects of food trade. Minimum quality requirements are included in the food laws to ensure the foods produced are unadulterated and are not subjected to any fraudulent practices intended to deceive the consumers. Also, food laws should cover the total chain beginning with provisions for animal feed, on-farm controls and early processing through to final distribution and use by consumers. In pursuance of this, Nigerian government promulgated some laws relating to food safety and standards.

In additional to these laws, the Nigerian Government in 2000 launched the National Policy on Food Hygiene and Safety as an integral part of the Nigerian National Health Policy. This policy seeks to stimulate and promote legislations concerning food in areas of production, storage, handling, processing, preservation, trade, transportation and marketing. It also seeks to improve the quality of healthcare through ensuring that all food consumed in Nigeria, whether imported or exported are wholesome, nutritious, free from contaminations, and accessible to the consumers at affordable prices. 

Food Safety Standard Legislations (Laws) in Nigeria

The main national legislations relating to food safety include the following

1. The Public Health Laws, 1917 now known as Public Health Ordinance Cap 164 of 1958

2. The Food and Drugs Decree, No. 35 of 1974

3. The Standards Organizations of Nigeria (SON) Decree, No. 56 of 1971

4. The Animal Disease Control Decree, No. 10 of 1988

5. The Marketing of Breast Milk Substitute Decree, No. 41 of 1990

6. The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Decree No. 15 of 1993 Laws of the Federation.

Bodies or Agencies Responsible for Regulating and Monitoring Food Safety Standards and Practices in Nigeria are:

1. Federal Ministry of Health

2. Federal Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development

3. National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)

4. Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON)

5. The States and Local Governments

The specific roles of these agencies 

Federal Ministry of Health

The Federal Ministry of Health has the responsibility for formulating national policies, guidelines and regulations on food hygiene and safety as well as the monitoring of their implementation. It is also responsible for establishing guidelines for the requirements for the nutritive value of food, and monitoring of food environments and handlers, control of food borne diseases, the quality of public water supply as well as national and international matters relating to food.

Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has the responsibility for promoting good agricultural practices and new agricultural technologies in conformity with food safety polices and regulation standards.

National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)

NAFDAC is the parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Health saddled with the responsibility for regulation and control of imported and locally produced foods, drugs and bottled water in Nigeria.

Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON)

SON is charged with responsibility for the formulation of standards on the composition of imported and locally manufactured food and other products in Nigeria. There are 100 standards on food and food products as well as good number of codes of hygienic practices for food and food products which have been established by the Standards Organization of Nigeria. These standards and codes are reviewed periodically to meet current trends in technological and industrial developments.

States and Local Governments

The States and Local Governments Authorities, collaborate with National Primary Healthcare Development Agency —  an agency under the Federal Ministry of Health — monitor and regulate street food vending and outlets, catering establishments and traditional markets food services. 

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