By Dan-Maryam Zayamu
The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has charged bread and other confectionary producers to imbibe the culture of Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) in order to ensure safety of bread and other allied products they produce for public consumption.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the charge at a stakeholders’ meeting with the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter, weekend, the NAFDAC Director General vowed that her agency would not, in any way, compromise the quality of bread which, according to her, is a staple food amongst most Nigerians.
Represented by the Director, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Mrs Eva Edwards, the NAFDAC boss noted that her Agency was sensitive to the increasing costs of ingredients in the production of bread, but warned that this should not be an excuse to undermine the safety and quality of the products thereby endangering the lives of consumers.
“You should have full confidence that you can give your family members to eat from what you have produced for the Nigerian consumers. In this case you would not want to produce what will make you or your family members sick if eaten,” she said.
She cautioned them to avoid using expired raw materials and contaminated packaging materials and embrace a food safety culture in their activities.
Prof Adeyeye noted that the overall objective of Good Hygiene Practices in the food processing sector including bakeries, quick service restaurants is to ensure the safety of the food from the starting materials to the final products.
According to her, good hygiene practices must be strictly adhered to from the beginning to the end of the production process and that the finished products should not be exposed to the ravaging onslaught of rats and other pests.
“Food raw materials/ingredients that are not properly sealed, compromised packaging, infested by rodents or their droppings and not adequately labelled should not be used.
“Detergents, disinfectants, engine oil/lubricants should be kept away from food raw materials’’, she said.
She added that If the bakers’ operations will endanger the health of the public, then the Agency will not hesitate to take decisive action. The NAFDAC DG, however, said that her agency is fully prepared to support their businesses to survive and thrive.
“Good Hygiene Practices in food facilities cover all stages of the process, starting from the planning stage for the location of the factory. Food facility should not be located in an area that is close to source(s) of contamination or prone to flooding,” she said, adding that the material of the equipment should be impervious and not erode or react with the food during processing.
According to her, medical tests should be conducted periodically to ensure personnel do not harbor any diseases that could be transmitted through food, stressing that food handlers are also not expected to work with open wounds; ‘’and when they are ill, they should be excused from work.”
A statement by the NAFDAC Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, quoted the NAFDAC boss as advising the Master Bakers on the need for proper labelling of their products.
Speaking, the Acting Chairman of the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter, Mr Matthew Ayoola, commended the initiative of NAFDAC by engaging his members on the way forward with their businesses.
He pledged that his members would use the knowledge imparted to them at the engagement to further enhance the quality of their products in the State.
He. however, disclosed that his Association had set up a task force with a view to bringing forward any recalcitrant members to NAFDAC for necessary guidance towards compliance with the regulations, and sanctions as deemed necessary by the Agency.