By Palma Ileye
In line with the desire of the present administration to empower a minimum of one million Nigerians annually with hospitality trade jobs in the National Home Grown School Feeding Program, quality and safety of food service delivery must be ensured so that the feeding system will not be compromised in terms of nutritional values, safe consumption and good health of the benefiting pupils of the scheme.
The National President of the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria, ITPN, Chief Abiodun Odusanwo, who stated this during the Food Quality Assurance Supervision Training Program for Supervisors of the Home Grown School Feeding Program in Abuja, noted that this was meant to strengthen the skill levels of the public officers performing this important regulatory and enforcement role in order to reduce the incidents of food poisoning and food borne illnesses in the implementation of the scheme.
Odusanwo said that the Servesafe initiative was a Food Safety Quality Assurance Management System which covers environmental and public health food safety program, designed to create public awareness and a safeguard of the dangers associated with food poisoning and contamination at premises where food was processed, cooked, served or handled, adding that it was further meant to educate, intensify and quality-assured food premises through inspection and certification.
He disclosed that the key challenges facing the enhancement of food safety in the country include lack of awareness of the socio-economic importance of food safety, absence of adequate information on incidence of food borne disease outbreaks, lack of understanding of food safety and quality standards as outlined in international agreements and the inability to enforce compliance commensurate with the demands of enforcement of regulatory bodies, noting further that it was in response to these challenges that the Servesafe Quality Assurance training was organized.
The program which was done by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in collaboration with the Institute for Tourism Professionals of Nigeria, saw participants of the Three-Day Training Programme drawn from all training centres across the country drilled on key food safety areas including: ‘Overview of Safe Food’; ‘How to Avoid Food Contamination’; ‘The Servesafe Food Handler’ and ‘Servesafe Facilities and Pest Management and Control’.
Other are: ‘Servesafe flow of Food Production and Service’; Servesafe Cleaning and Sanitation’; Servesafe Flow of Food Production and Service’ and ‘Servesafe Food Safety Management System’ and were presented with Certificate acknowledging them as qualified food safety supervisors in the country’s food value chain and hospitality trades.