The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has cautioned hotels and food restaurants to ensure that they maintain standard safety and quality of food served in their facilities.
The regulatory agency also reminded food vendors of the existence of a new law that prohibits food containing high levels of trans fats.
It warned that non adherence or abuse of the safety standards could cause harm and serious health issues when they contaminate the food.
It said good hygiene practice and good manufacturing practice were prerequisites for food safety in any food operation and food facility.
NAFDAC’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, quoted the Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, as having disclosed this at the weekend, during a stakeholders’ engagement with operators of hotels and Quick Service Restaurants, popularly called eateries with the theme ‘’Safety and Quality of Food in Hotels and Eateries’’ in Lagos.
Adeyeye said good hygiene practice and good manufacturing practice 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 NAFDAC boss expressed grave concerns about health risks of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) associated with the consumption of foods high in salt, sugars, saturated fats, and trans fatty acids, adding that “also of concern is the misuse of food additives for enhancing the appearance of food, the colour, texture, taste, and shelf life.”
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 ensured that food prepared was safe to eat and enables businesses to protect their reputation.
She advised operators to diligently comply with the agency’s 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.
Adeyeye, expressed hope 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.
Nigeria had in the past launched her first “National Multi-Sectoral Action Plan (NMSAP) for the Prevention and Non-communicable Disease 2019-2025.”
Adeyeye said the 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 said.
Adeyeye further said the revised and recently gazetted Fats, Oils and Foods containing Fats and Oils Regulations set limits of 2g per 100g of total fats that can be placed for fats, oils and foods containing fats and oils.
According to NAFDAC boss, it 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 would be jointly decided by NAFDAC and industry to make for a smooth transition. She stressed that the revised regulation was a protective measure to safeguard the health of Nigerians and the food sector.
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja