By Sola Ogundipe
FOLLOWING the closure of the Ilupeju branch of Sweet Sensation Confectioneries by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration & Control, (NAFDAC), many fast food outlets in Lagos are taking measures to comply with standard sanitation andÂ environmental regulations.
A number of the outlets visited last week had stepped up effort to meet the minimum regulation for water supply, food preparation/ storageÂ and general hygieneÂ standards.
The fast food outlet shut by the Agency had run foul of regulatoryÂ laws by operating under unhygienic conditions likely to compromise the health of its customers, a development that compelled NAFDAC toÂ threaten toÂ close down any fast food outlet that fails to comply with best practices andÂ stipulated hygienic standards.
Confirming the closure of the defalting food outlet, Dr. Paul Orhi, Director General, NAFDAC, restated the Agencyâ€™s determination to enforceÂ safety and quality requirements for all NAFDAC regulated products and processes.
â€œWe would partner with the Consumer Protection Council and other relevant Agencies to intensify the monitoring of the activities of all fast food outlets nationwide to ensure that foods are prepared under hygienic conditions.â€
He said NAFDAC resolved to carry out routine inspections of fast food outlets across the country,Â because of the realisation that the outlets had come to occupy an important place in the country due to increased urbanization.
â€œWe know that fast foods may be delicious and convenient, but they may also be a source of public health concern if the food is prepared under unhygienic or insanitary conditions.
He said the Agency on inspection of the closd fast food outlet, discovered itÂ was operating under very unhygienic conditions. According to him,Â NAFDAC inspectors were shocked toÂ discover that the source of water was a borehole located close to an underground concrete sewage and there was no proper water treatment.
â€œThe storage condition of the ready to eat food was inadequate. It was observed that the company was using a ceramic bath tub for mixing dough for their pastries.
â€œThe companyâ€™s kitchen windows and doors were not netted to protect the premises from pests such as rats, cockroaches and flies. The general sanitation of the premises was appalling.
â€œPlates were stalked close to the open drains and exposed to microbial contamination which could lead to food poisoning. The very poor sanitary condition of the premises,Â obvious lapses in hygienic practices and food handling that would compromise health of consumers led toÂ immediate closure of the outlet.â€