The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has called on the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, to prioritize and implement stringent hygiene standards in the production of bread and related products.
In a statement made on Sunday, the Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, addressed participants during a stakeholder’s meeting with the Lagos Chapter of the Association.
She insisted that the agency would not compromise the quality of bread being produced for Nigerians.
Adeyeye, who was represented by the Director, of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Mrs. Eva Edwards, noted that NAFDAC was sensitive to the increasing costs of ingredients in the production of bread, saying that this should not be an excuse to undermine the safety and quality of the products, thereby, endangering the lives of consumers in the process.
“You should have full confidence that you can give your family members to eat from what you have produced for Nigerian consumers. In this case, you would not want to produce what will make you or your family members sick if eaten.
“Avoid using expired raw materials and contaminated packaging materials, and embrace a food safety culture in their activities,” she said.
The statement explained that the overall objective of GHP in the food processing sector, including bakeries, and quick service restaurants, was to ensure the safety of the food from the starting materials to the final products.
She further warned that food raw materials/ingredients that are not properly sealed, packaged in compromised packaging, infested by rodents or their droppings, and not adequately labelled should not be used, adding that storage and handling of food ingredients/raw materials should be such that mix-ups and cross contamination are avoided.
“Detergents, disinfectants, engine oil/lubricants should be kept away from food raw materials,” the statement said.
She added that If the bakers’ operations would endanger the health of the public, then the Agency would not hesitate to take decisive action.
The statement advised that production facilities should not be sited in locations that can compromise the safety and quality of the finished products, such as near a cemetery or directly opposite a toilet or soakaway, stating that there was no way the Agency would stand aloof while the health of the public was being put at risk.
The Acting Chairman of the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter, Mr Matthew Ayoola, 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.