FUNAI CEDAMPAT, IKWO LG PARTNER ON FOOD HYGIENE
The Centre for Development Assistance Management, Partnership and Training (CEDAMPAT), Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (FUNAI), Ebonyi State in partnership with the Ikwo Local Government, recently organized a sensitization Programme for food vendors and handlers in the area.
Declaring the event open, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba who was represented by the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Charles Okolie noted that the sensitization Programme was very relevant because of its health benefits to Staff and students, and the various food vendors and handlers as they carry out their eatery businesses within and around the university community.
He maintained that the sensitization programme became imperative because of the various reports of food poisoning among staff and students as a result of dirty environments and unhygienic way of food preparation and handling by the vendors. He therefore, urged the participants to listen attentively in order to note and imbibe good food hygiene techniques that could be employed in preparing and handling food in their various restaurants.
The Vice-Chancellor also used the opportunity to plead with the Executive Chairman of Ikwo Local Government Area, Hon. Elder John Nnabo to use his good offices in ensuring peaceful co-habitation between the university and its host community, adding that the sensitization progamme was one of the ways the university is impacting positively on the Ikwo community as part of its community service initiative.
Expressing his happiness on the Food hygiene sensitization programme, Elder Nnabo pointed out the importance of hygienic food in sustaining life, stressing that when contaminated, food could also become harmful to health. He therefore, urged the food vendors to be careful in preparing and handling their food and other eatable materials in order to protect the lives and health of their customers.
He emphasized that food vendors had a role to play in helping to produce eligible graduates from the university, tasking them to always source for clean water for their cooking activities. He further enjoined them to also ensure cleanliness in their line of business to avoid flies and other disease-carrying pathogens in their business environment, adding that the importance of food hygiene cannot be overemphasized, as many people have lost their lives due to food poisoning.
Also speaking at the event, the Head of Immunization, Ikwo Local Government Area, Mr. Jacob Anyigor said that there were pathogenic organisms that contaminate food prepared in unhealthy environments. And urged the participants to always go for a biannual medical examination to ensure they were fit to handle food for public consumption. He also stressed on the importance of clean environment in food preparation and handling, advising the participants to endeavor to prepare fresh and nutritious food and to abstain from using expired food items and condiments which could be poisonous and damaging to the human system.
The health officer further urged the participants to observe effective personal hygiene as food handlers and to endeavor to wear aprons, hair tie and gloves when preparing food. He also warned them to desist from indiscriminate sneezing and coughing while cooking, urging them to stay at home if sick until they were fully recovered and fit for business. He rounded off his presentation by making a clarion call on the participants to also ensure effective disposal of waste emanating from their activities on daily basis.
Earlier, the Director of CEDAMPAT, Mr. Chris Uwadoka, noted that the event was to keep the staff and students as well as other members of the university community free from food-borne diseases, by educating the various owners of eateries, restaurants and ‘mamaputs’ within and around the university on the ways of preparing and handling food to make it hygienic for public consumption.
He further expressed his appreciation to the Ikwo Local Government for agreeing to be part of the sensitization programme, adding that the Centre would continue to explore other possible areas of partnership that could be of mutual benefits to the university and its host community.
The event was spiced up by an interesting and enlightening drama performance from the Theatre Arts Drama group that pointed out the dos and don’ts for food vendors and handlers.