Enugu - The National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned food manufacturers and vendors against improper storage and packaging, saying it is detrimental to health.
The Director General of agency, Dr Paul Orhii, gave the warning in Enugu on Tuesday at a two-day workshop on national food safety organised for food manufacturers in the South East.
Orhii, represented by the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics in the agency, Dr Sampson Adebayo, said that improper food storage and packaging negated the mandate of the agency.
The DG said that observing scientific and systematic approach as well as the control of hazards during food manufacturing, processing and storage would improve food safety.
He said that any operator found wanting would be punished according to the provisions of the law.
The director general expressed optimism that the workshop would expose participants to safe practices in primary food production and storage, food labelling and other guides on exportation of food products.
"In view of the serious and negative public health effect and the economic impact of unsafe food which is more in sub-Sahara Africa, NAFDAC in fulfilling its mandate must play a role in assuring food safety.
"One of such role is educating relevant stakeholders, especially primary producers, small and medium food processors, state and local government food inspectors and others," he said.
In a lecture, the Director of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in the agency, Ogochukwu Mainasara, urged manufacturers to maintain the World Health Organisation (WHO) keys to safer food.
She listed the keys to include clean hands, safe raw materials, safe food temperature and cooking thoroughly.
Mainasara advised food vendors to always in-print manufacture and expiry dates on their products to ensure effective security.
Some of the participants commended NAFDAC for the workshop, saying that it would help them to maintain clean environment during food production.
Michael Eze of Sunchi Integrated Farms Ltd, Enugu, said the workshop had also enlightened them on food storage temperature.
"We have learnt how to handle food, the safety and the precautions. We will apply this in our poultry, on how we handle our chicks and finished products better," he said.
A producer of local gin in Ebonyi, Mrs Josephine Ogenyi, called on the government to look into cases of overlapping responsibilities between NAFDAC, Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
Ogenyi expressed dismay over the development, adding that payments and registrations with these agencies were hindering progress in the business.
"We want the government to help us look into the matter of clash in responsibilities of food regulatory agencies," she said.
Participants from Chitis Bakery in Enugu and Banquet Table Water in Ebonyi called for more workshops to improve hygiene in food production, processing and storage.
The workshop featured participants from bakeries, poultry farms, food manufacturers and vendors, as well as hoteliers.
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