The Lagos State Government has moved to check food and water contamination in eateries, restaurants and hotels across the State, charging stakeholders to embrace the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and certification.
Speaking at a sensitization meeting for food, water and beverage handling establishments in Lagos recently, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Healthcare, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga lamented that food safety had become a major concern to the food industry given that the consumption of contaminated food and water contributed to a myriad of health problems in the World.
“Food and water prepared, served at the restaurants, eateries, hotels and those processed in factories may look clean and taste delicious, but may have been contaminated by biological, chemical or physical hazards during the preparation procedures from the source through to service”, he said.
Onanuga noted that food hazards or contamination may also come from a primary production like the farm, from improper handling or storage in the food industry, or from errors during preparation at home or in other places where the food is consumed.
The Special Adviser added that kitchens are also viewed as the major sources of contamination, stressing that contamination from the kitchen could be from poor sourcing and handling practices which include under-cooking, poor personal hygiene, use of unclean equipment, inappropriate storage and incorrect holding temperatures amongst others.
He noted that a tool that gives a holistic approach to food safety for consumption is Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), noting that there was a need for an effective HACCP system to be in place in every food, water and beverage organization.
According to him, “HACCP is a management system that gives a systematic preventive approach to food safety, from biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product, through identifying where hazards may occur and design measures to reduce these risks to a safe level by putting in place stringent actions, strictly monitoring and controlling each process”.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Modele Osunkiyesi said the essence of the meeting was to sensitize food, water and beverage-based establishments on the importance of understanding the HACCP initiative as well as foster and promote the adoption of the HACCP system in their organizations.
She added that the meeting also aimed at emphasizing the relationship between good hygiene practices and the HACCP systems as well as gain management commitment to the promotion of food safety and hygiene.
“A proper understanding will prevent sanctions, reduce the form of delays in processing documents and ensure a transparent HACCP Certification by the Ministry. This is not a training but rather to give you the necessary orientation”, Osunkiyesi said.