By Biola Lawal
Lagos (Flowerbudnews): NAFDAC Director-General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye has began direct engagement with operators of hotels and eateries to enlighten and sensitise them on the importance of Good Hygiene Practice to protect public health.
Prof Adeyeye kick-started the hotels and eateries sensitisation campaign with a stakeholder’s engagement with operators of hotels and Quick Service Restaurants, popularly called Eateries in Lagos on Friday.
Speaking at the function which had the theme; ‘’Safety and Quality of Food In Hotels and Eateries’’, Prof Adeyeye said that Good Hygiene Practice (GHP) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) were crucial for food safety in any food operation and food facility, a statement by Sayo Akintola, NAFDAC Resident Consultant disclosed.
L-R: Director, Lagos State Office (LSO), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Dr Monica Eimunjeze, Director, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN), Mrs. Eva Edwards, Director General, NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, Director General, Hotels Owners and Managers Association of Lagos, HOMAL, Mr. Adeniyi Ologun, Director, Food Registration and Regulation, NAFDAC, Mrs. Abayomi Bolaji Julian mni, and Director, Laboratory Services (Food), NAFDAC, Dr. Charles Nwanchukwu, at the Stakeholders Engagement Forum with Operators of Hotels and Quick Service Restaurants (Eateries) in Lagos. on Friday.
She said that GHP and GMP, when adequately implemented, would ensure that food prepared for customers is free of harmful micro-organisms that can cause harm and serious health issues if they contaminate the food.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Boss expressed grave concerns about health risks of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) associated with the consumption of foods high in salt, free sugars, saturated fats, and trans fatty acids.
She stated: ‘’also of concern is the misuse of food additives for enhancing the appearance of food, the colour, texture, taste, and shelf life.’’
Prof Adeyeye noted with dismay that ‘’proliferation of many NCDs is related to the foods we eat including other poor health conditions, such as impaired growth and development, micronutrient deficiencies, non-communicable/ communicable diseases, and even mental illness’’.
According to the DG, adhering to the provisions of GHP and GMP ensures that food prepared is safe to eat and enables businesses to protect their reputation.
She advised operators to diligently comply with the Agencys Regulations and Guidelines concerning their operations as this is of immense benefit to their operations.
‘’This interaction could not have come at a better time considering the strategic role of your sector in the hospitality and food industries, added to the huge patronage you receive and the need to be constantly vigilant and mindful of the safety and quality of the food you prepare to ensure the health of the public’’, she said.
She expressed her earnest expectation that at the end of the forum, the sector would be better equipped with the technical know-how to ensure the safety and quality of food served in hotels and eateries.
NAFDAC by her enabling Act Cap N1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 is saddled with the responsibility to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale and use of food and other regulated products.
This translates to the fact that we assure the safety, quality and wholesomeness of food that is offered to the public and one of the ways by which this can be achieved is through constant engagement with key players in this sector and that is why we are gathered today.
Nigeria has launched her first “National Multi-Sectoral Action Plan (NMSAP) for the Prevention and Non-communicable Disease 2019-2025. This policy document advocates for a multi-sectoral approach to reduce salt/sodium in food by 30 percent by the year 2025.
Research has shown that excessive salt/sodium in the diet has been implicated in high blood pressure, heart diseases and stroke. It is also an established fact that too much of unhealthy fats in the diet can raise cholesterol levels which increases the risk of heart disease.
She noted that this precipitated the launch of the revised and recently gazetted Fats, Oils and Foods containing Fats and Oils Regulations 2022 by the Agency on Monday, August 7, 2023, where limits of 2g per 100g of total fats have been placed for fats, oils and foods containing fats and oils.
She explained that this means that any of such products containing more than this permitted level of trans fats is prohibited from the date of implementation of the regulations which will be jointly decided by NAFDAC and industry to make for a smooth transition.
Prof Adeyeye stressed that the revised regulation was a protective measure to safeguard the health of Nigerians, ‘’and your sector, where foods are prepared for consumption is very critical to success’’.
The NAFDAC DG further stated that Food safety involves preventive strategies at all levels of food related operations such as receiving, storing, processing, handling, and distribution of food, adding that as stakeholders along the food chain, ‘’it is critical that you are well informed and guided on food related operations to address food hazards and deliver safe, good quality food to consumers’’.
She further stated that access to safe and wholesome food is essential for the health and well-being of people, noting that ‘’It is only when food is safe that we can benefit from its nutritional value and the social benefits of sharing good meals’’.
‘’As a Regulatory Agency, we believe that targeted communication, education, and awareness raising will contribute to ensuring voluntary compliance to regulatory requirements with resultant positive health outcomes for our teeming population’’.
She however, urged the operators to key into the Agencys slogan of Safeguarding Public Health by abiding with the Regulations and Guidelines of NAFDAC in their food preparation processes. (Flowerbudnews)