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…call for proper storage, hygiene, regular health check
The Nigeria Institute of Medical Research,Yaba yesterday held an health advocacy and screening for food handlers in selected local government areas of Lagos State.
The program which was facilitated by the Honourable Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila as one of his constituency projects, aimed at addressing food transmission infections and food poisoning.
The program which attracted medical researchers and food handlers, examined the safety of food consumed outside the home.
In his welcome address, Director General of NIMR DR Babatunde Salako said medical screening for food handlers is necessary to know the health status of those preparing major food consumed by a bigger population. He said this will provide an opportunity to know healthy carriers,and how to address the situation to avoid a pandemic.
Dr Toyosi Raheem,the lead project investigator said the purpose of the exercise is to examined the health status of the food handlers both in private and public places, and to see the importance of preserving the health of consumers of the food through direct contact with food or cooking utensils.
He said, “studies in some parts of Nigeria have shown that most food vendors did not have adequate knowledge of food safety practice and no sufficient information on the causative microbial and parasitic agents of food borne infections. NIMR owes the public responsibility to strengthen best practice among food handlers and those who patronize them.”
In his presentation, Dr David Oladele Consultant Public Health Physician &HOD,Clinical Science department NIMR said safety in preparation of food is as important as the storage of such food. He said,” if food is not stored under a recommended temperature, it will become poison,and unfit for consumption.”
Dr Oladele called on food handlers to maintain high level of hygiene, and proper storage of food to prevent food borne diseases.
Prof Stella Smith, Director of Research,NIMR, while delivering her paper on “Storage Facilities and Ready to Eat Food: Challenges and solution”, identified lack of power supply and improper handling of food as a major cause of food infection and food transmission of disease.
A participant, Mrs Evelyn Adedayo asked that how long can food be stored in the refrigerator before consumption. Dr Oladele advised that food should not be consumed directly from the refrigerator,but microwaved.