The certification, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, is required to penetrate the international market for processed value-added products, particularly food items.
During a one-day awareness training programme on HACCP in Lagos on Tuesday, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Mr Segun Awolowo, who was represented by the Director, Product Department, NEPC, Mr William Ezeagu, stressed the competitive nature of the global market, saying that to compete, exportable food products needed to strive to acquire additional non-mandatory certifications.
He said, “Non-mandatory certifications (example, ISO, HACCP, Good Manufacturing Practises, etc.,) are global certifications, trusted by consumers and end-users of products and services, and are attained, based on the reputation of the certifying bodies.”
According to him, the HACCP system, which is science-based and systematic, identifies specific hazards and measures for their control to ensure the safety of food.
“HACCP is a tool to assess hazards and establish control systems that focus on prevention rather than relying mainly on end-product testing.
“HACCP is important because it prioritises and controls potential hazards in food processes. By controlling major food risks, such as microbiological, chemical and physical contaminants, the industry can better assure consumers that its products are as safe and as good as science and technology allow.”
The council listed the advantages of HACCP and other food safety certifications to include compliance with customer and applicable regulatory requirements, an effective quality system recognition, provision of competitive advantage, improvement in product and company’s image, enhancing the reputation of the company, and increased revenue generation through increased sales.
A global certification body, Indian-based TopCertifier, was engaged to train selected food processors and exporters on the HACCP certification.
NEPC said this would enable them to embrace the basic rudiments of food safety for their products.
“I must say this is the first time in Nigeria that our exporters are given this rare opportunity,” Awolowo said.