Lagos State government is to increase surveillance in hotels, eateries, restaurants and relaxation centres with the aim to check incidence of food and water contamination in the state.
The state government has also charged stakeholders to embrace the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and certification.
HACCP is 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. It identifies where hazards may occur and design measures to reduce the risks to a safe level by putting in place strict monitoring and controlling of each process.
Olufemi Onanuga, special adviser to the government on primary healthcare, who stated this at a sensitisation meeting in Lagos, last week, said safety had become a major concern to the food industry, given that the consumption of contaminated food and water and its consequent health problems.
“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 contamination might also come from primary production like the farm, from improper handling or storage or from errors during preparation or in other places where the food was consumed.
The tool for food safety was HACCP, he said, just as he stressed the need for an effective HACCP system to be in place in every food, water, and beverage organisation to protect the consumer from harm that could result from any form of hazards.
“The benefits of the HACCP certification to food, water, beverage organisations are many and these include food safety assurance, increased patronage, improved market access, constant reinforcing of best practices by staff during food handling, prevention of enforcement actions stemming from default, continuous improvement and international recognition with trading interests,” he said.