The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has reaffirmed its responsibility for the training, screening, and certification of food, water, and beverage handlers in the Federal Capital Territory.
Mr. Abdulrahman Sadiq, the Director of Public Health at the Human and Health Services Secretariat (HHSS) of the FCTA, made this clear during a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
Sadiq emphasized the importance of this announcement to ensure that all stakeholders, especially those in the hospitality industry, are well-informed and aligned with the FCTA’s regulations.
According to his statement, it is imperative to implement comprehensive measures to prevent disease outbreaks caused by improper handling of food. He specifically emphasized the importance of training, screening, and certifying all individuals involved in food handling for public consumption.
This includes those operating restaurants, hotels, food processors, and others in the hospitality industry. It was suggested that these individuals should undergo screening every six months and obtain certification to demonstrate their ability to handle food safely.
“The main objective behind these measures is to guarantee the safety of all food consumed by the public, ensuring it does not result in food poisoning or the spread of any diseases.
“This conference is organised to ensure that FCTA and relevant stakeholders are all on the same page on this and to also strengthen working synergy among stakeholders, including Abuja Municipal Area Council,” he said.
Furthermore, according to Mrs. Comfort Fasanya, the Director of Legal Services at HHSS, the dispute concerning the responsibility for training, screening, and certifying food handlers in the FCT between FCTA and AMAC has been resolved.
Fasanya mentioned that Dunes Investment and Global Services, a hospitality business entity, had taken legal action against AMAC and FCTA in the Federal High Court regarding this matter.
She explained that the company had sought the court’s intervention in determining the appropriate agency or authority to engage with and pay the necessary fees and charges.
According to her statement, on July 12, 2023, the court made a ruling that stated the applicant must refer to the FCTA as the authorized agency for issuing certificates of medical fitness and screening food handlers.
Mr. Noel Haruna, the acting Secretary of HHSS, emphasized the importance of collaboration among relevant stakeholders to ensure full compliance with the training, screening, and certification processes for food handlers.
He stressed that the primary objective is to safeguard the public’s well-being by preventing the consumption of contaminated food, drinks, or beverages.
“Now that the matter has been put to rest by a court of competent jurisdiction, we should all work together for the safety of all residents of the FCT from any food poisoning,” he said.
On his part, Dr Mathew Ashikeni, Director of Special Duties, HHSS, called on the stakeholders to work as a team.
According to his perspective, this measure will guarantee a society that is free from all forms of food poisoning and public health issues caused by the consumption of food, drinks, or beverages.