The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has vowed to enforce Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) in bread processing in the country.
This is contained in a statement by the agency’s resident media consultant, Mr Olusayo Akintola, on Sunday in Abuja.
The agency also vowed to go after bakers using raw materials and ingredients infested by rats and pests to bake bread for consumers in Lagos.
The statement disclosed that NAFDAC’s Director-General (DG), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, made this known during her meeting with members of the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter.
Represented by Mrs Eva Edwards, the agency’s Director, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN), Adeyeye said the move would encourage the association’s special task force to rid the industry of unwholesome practices.
She urged members of the association and other confectionery stakeholders to always imbibe the culture of GHP for the benefit of the public.
The DG said that the agency would not compromise the quality of bread, a staple food among Nigerians.
She noted that the agency was sensitive to the increasing costs of ingredients in production, but said this should not be an excuse to undermine safety, quality and endanger the lives of consumers.
“You should have full confidence to give your family members what you have produced to eat. Avoid using expired raw materials and contaminated packaging materials.
“The overall objective of GHP in the food processing sector, including bakeries, quick service restaurants, is to ensure the safety of food from the starting materials to the final products.
“GHP must be strictly adhered to from the beginning to the end of the production process, as finished products should not be exposed to the ravaging onslaught of rats and other pests in the Lagos metropolis. ‘
“Food raw materials/ingredients that are not properly sealed, compromised packaging, infested by rodents or their droppings, or not adequately labelled, should not be used.
“Detergents, disinfectants, engine oil/lubricants should be kept away from food raw materials. If baking operations will endanger the health of the public, then the agency will not hesitate to take a decisive action.
“As a responsive agency, NAFDAC is prepared to support the association’s businesses to survive and thrive,” Adeyeye said.
She further stressed that production facilities should not be sited in locations that could compromise the safety and quality of the finished products, such as near a cemetery or directly opposite a toilet or soakaway.
According to her, there is no way the agency will stand aloof while the health of the public is put at a risk.
She further said that equipment used in production should be impervious and not erode or react with the food during processing.
Adeyeye said that the equipment should be properly installed and arranged to enable easy cleaning of the immediate environment, and allow for free movement of personnel.
She maintained that vehicles used for transportation of chemicals, or any hazardous materials should not be used to transport bread, and that finished products should be adequately protected from contamination.
According to her, medical tests should be conducted periodically to ensure that the personnel producing the food are healthy and do not have diseases that could be transmitted through food.