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1.1 Background of the study
The population of Nigeria was estimated to be about 170 million people by the end of 20133 , up from the general census figure of 105m (1997), 108m (1998), 112m (1999), 115m (2000) and 140m (2006). This rapidly increasing national population and the corresponding increase in demand for food makes Nigeria a big market for both locally produced and imported foods. There is therefore enormous responsibility on the food and agro-allied industries, food safety regulatory agencies and other stakeholders in the food supply chain (Farm-to-Table) to ensure the public consumes safe, wholesome and nutritious foods at affordable prices. Food is a very vital and basic necessity of life as it is not only a biological need but also a global socio-economic and political commodity. In Nigeria, the custom of eating out which was once limited to special occasions has now become embedded in our eating habits as a result of increasing urbanisation. Recent developments in the economy of the country have led to a phenomenal increase in the number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and proliferation of eateries. Our changing lifestyles have encouraged food outlets and food vendors in our cities and villages, so much so that on an average daily basis, at least a meal is consumed away from home. Most of those involved in these emerging food businesses do not observe or are not aware of food hygiene and other best practices to ensure food safety and the environmental requirements in which these foods are produced or vended. The widespread practice of open display and exposure of ready-to-eat foods and the inadequacies of the existing food safety systems portend great dangers to public health and impact negatively on the efforts to meet national and international standards, making our food products non-competitive in the International market. The NPFSIS is expected to provide the framework for identification of National food safety objectives and formulation of suitable laws, regulations and guidelines for relevant sectors of the food supply chain needed to improve public health and trade.Nigeria as a member of the United Nations has been a signatory to all the Conventions and Declarations on Health issues. In 1986, the Federal Military Government formulated a National Health Policy and strategy to achieve Health for all Nigerians by the year 2000 and beyond. However, the 1986 National Health Policy has been reviewed twice, first in 1988 and then in 1996. In 1996, a national plan of action was drawn to cover the period 1996 to 2005, and this has now been adjusted in line with vision 2010. The National health policy, is an expression of government’s readiness to establish a National Health System which should be “Wide in scope and provide comprehensive coverage with Primary Health Care serving as the main thrust of the implementation strategy. The 1995 maiden National Health Summit on its part, emphasized that health care services in Nigeria should be geared towards adopting health promotion as a major front for achieving high level of health for all Nigerians based on consumer’s right, community participation, prevention of and reduction of need for curative health care. Good food hygiene and safety with optimum nutritional health for all Nigerians through not explicitly expressed, is implicit in the objectives and strategies of the National Health Policy and the Abuja Health Declaration Consumer empowerment in the prevention and reduction of enteric disease morbidity and mortality is one of the important components of a good food hygiene and safety programFood safety according to World Health Organization (WHO) has to do with all measures taken to protect human health from harm, arising from the consumption of food when it is prepared and/or eaten according to its intended use. Therefore, food-borne illnesses may result from ingestion of foods containing significant amounts of pathogenic microorganisms, biological or chemical poisons arising from poor or careless food handling practices at any stage in the food supply chain.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The number of reported outbreaks of food-borne illnesses has been high, both in developed as well as developing countries. However, the problem is exacerbated in developing countries due to economic reasons, poverty, the lack of adequate health care facilities, and the dearth of data regarding food-borne diseases. This greatly compromises the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (particularly MDG 1, 4, 5 and 6). The safety of street or vended foods is therefore one of the most pressing health and safety issues facing most developing countries since it leads to both public health and social consequences. It is against this backdrop that the researcher intend to investigate the food safety practice among catering establishment in Lagos state.
1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVE
The main objective of the study is to investigate food safety practices among catering establishment in Lagos state. In other to aid the completion of the study, the researcher intend to achieve the following specific objectives:
i) To ascertain the role of the federal ministry of health in ensuring compliance with national food safety system
ii) To investigate the relationship between national food safety system and food safety practice practiced by catering firm
iii) To investigate the dangers of poor hygiene environment on food processing
iv) To proffer suggested solution to the identified problem
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
To aid the completion of the study, the following research questions were
i) Does federal ministry of health plays any role in ensuring compliance with national food safety system by catering outlet?
ii) Is there any relationship between national food safety system and food safety practice practiced by catering firms?
iii) Are there dangers of poor hygienic environment in food processing?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of importance to catering firms as the findings will expose them to the benefit of complying with the national food safety system as propounded by the ministry of health, the study will also be of importance to the federal ministry of health, as the study will aid them in policy formulation, implementation and enforcement in respect to food safety practice by catering firms and food vendors, The study will also be beneficial to researchers who intends to embark on study in similar topic as the study will serve as a guide to their study. Finally the study will be beneficial to academia’s students and the general public.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers food safety practices among catering establishment in selected local government area in Lagos state. But in the cause of the study, there were some factors which limited the scope of the study;
(a)Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
(b)Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
(c)Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells to provide energy, maintain life, or stimulate growth.
Safety is the state of being "safe" (from French sauf), the condition of being protected from harm or other non-desirable outcomes. Safety can also refer to the control of recognized hazards in order to achieve an acceptable level of risk.
Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potential health hazards.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter. Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
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