Career Goals and Scholarship as a Proudest Accomplishment
One of the proudest accomplishments of my life was earning a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology, despite the fact that my early years did not appear like I would attend a secondary school much less obtaining a university degree. I come from a broken home and was raised by my mother on a very low income, At age 5, I was too young to have been exposed to such challenging situation of my father eloping with another woman leaving my mother and I with barely anything to survive on.
My mother’s low-paying job could not even cater for our basic needs talk less of my educational financial burdens, we had no shelter hence we had no other choice than to spend the nights at my mother friend’s shop for months. In a bid to reduce the financial burden on my mother, I ventured into baking of cakes and snacks for various events during my undergraduate days which was able to cater for my living expenses while in the university.
A Microbiology degree coupled with my six-month internship at Chi Limited, Nigeria, a popular food and drink industry specialized in the production of dairy products, fruits juices and pastries instilled in me the relevance of food safety, quality control and quality assurance. Therefore, obtaining a Master’s degree in Food Safety and Quality Assurance at University of Guelph, Ontario by 2022 would provide me the final tools required to achieve my career goals and this scholarship would help me greatly as I work towards my goals.
Food Safety is everyone’s business although people in the society are yet to come fully into the realization of this huge responsibility hence settling for the easier option which is, leaving the role to be played by manufacturers of food products or stakeholders in the food chain, forgetting that food security is a shared responsibility from the manufacturers to the consumers. Nigeria has been struggling with the increase in poor food safety practices and standards, which according to the National food control system in my country known as National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has led to huge economic losses, which are evident in the myriad of rejects of some food exports from Nigeria at international markets as a result of contamination, poor preservation method and adulteration of food products.
The agency has been on a quest to tackle this urgent challenge without compromising food safety standards in a bid to increase food production and processing to provide food for the growing population in my country and in the world at large. It was discovered that other issues that has impacted negatively on food safety include: lack of data and information on the incidence of food borne disease outbreaks; artificial ripening of fruits using unapproved agents such as calcium, which could have deleterious effects on human health when such fruits are consumed; use of containers contaminated with hazardous chemicals such as chemical drums and jerry cans for food storage which is a common practice among the market men and women due to ignorance; the use of unapproved food additives for preservation, flavoring and coloring; the use of trucks previously used to transport fertilizers and other agrochemicals for transporting grains and other food commodities and so on which has put the lives of millions of Nigerians and others at risk.
The most saddening catastrophe is food safety has emerged as a global challenge, as we all know, food is consumed by all living things including plants to sustain life, hence access to sufficient, safe, wholesome and nutritious food is key to sustenance and good health. Although food serves as a source of human nutrients, it could also serve as a vehicle for the transmission of diseases from one individual to another when it becomes a medium for the growth of food-borne pathogens that can cause food poisoning thus making food safety, an important practice all over the world due to the outbreak food borne diseases that affect human health.
Food-borne diseases are increasing worldwide, particularly in the developing countries, due to neglect of personal hygiene and food hygiene, The United States of America is said to have the safest food distribution in the world, but regardless this, food-borne diseases causes an estimated 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5000 deaths yearly. The presence of food-borne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses or even parasites in food have been a major cause of these life-threatening diseases such as food poisoning.
With a Master’s degree in Food Safety and Quality Assurance, I seek to gain more insights on the fundamentals of food safety policies, adequate measures to be taken so as to reduce the risk of food-borne illness, food chain security and proper implementation of the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). In this era where there is an increasing research on the rapid detection, prevention and control of these food-borne pathogens in order to reduce the high cases of food-borne illnesses in every country, it is my pursuit to be part of the efforts implemented to improving food safety through various food technologies.
Being a successful Food Safety and Quality Assurance researcher remains my career aspiration, I aim to achieve this by being an advocate of food security hence contributing to my society by creating an awareness of the impact of food safety on the socio-economic environment hence impacting food safety education which is the first step towards combatting with the problem of food safety. Enlightening the members of the communities to report any suspected outbreak of food-borne illnesses to the national food control system no matter how minimal it occurs because that is a crucial way to control the transmission of food-borne pathogens and to ensure that accurate data and information of the incidence is documented to prevent further outbreaks.
Furthermore, many food-borne outbreaks encountered today are due to the rapid transmission of food-borne pathogens hence it is imperative that the food industry develop a cost-effective, highly sensitive, accurate and rapid methods to identify these pathogens in food supplies. These newly devised methods should be able assess all foods from the farm-to-table continuum including imported foods transported and distributed within a country to ensure that every level of production is duly monitored and swift actions are taken when a pathogen is detected which will assist in controlling the growth of food-borne pathogens in food supplies and also predict food-borne outbreaks before they occur because it is much easier control these pathogens than to treat food-borne diseases.
I am very motivated about furthering my studies and the relief that a scholarship would allow me more time and energy to excel and focus on my studies and I strongly believe that if these solutions are implemented, it is guaranteed that food-borne outbreaks would not simply be minimal but would also be completely eradicated from the food systems in Nigeria thus leading to healthy living and a better economy. This scholarship provides a chance for people who are dealing with financial challenges educationally, to attain their career goals thus becoming successful in their chosen field of study, I hope to become one of those special people and it is with great honor and appreciation that I submit this application for your consideration. Thank you.
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