Lagos State Government has adopted a number of biosecurity measures at every facility within the Oko-Oba abattoir and lairage complex as well as other slaughterhouses in the State to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 and other infectious diseases through these facilities.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal explained that the Government has stopped all non-essential activities of food vendors and other non-related abattoir practices.
Lawal added that the ban on all religious gatherings or other activities that involve more than 50 people would be strictly enforced at the abattoir and slaughterhouses in Lagos, adding that operators are also expected to provide hand sanitizer and a distance thermometer at the entrance of these facilities.
The Commissioner emphasised that it is essential for all unit heads to sensitise butchers in their respective abattoirs on the dangers and preventive measures of COVID-19, asserting that the stakeholders must also tell their sick members to stay away from the abattoir and seek medical assistance.
“Posters and handbills on COVID-19 shall be made available at all our abattoirs and meat markets stating the symptoms of the disease, the preventive measures to be taken and the phone numbers to contact in cases of a suspected outbreak. It is also important that we increase the level of sanitation of the entire environment at our abattoir and slaughterhouses in the State”, he averred.
He informed that all butchers and food vendors should be fully kitted and maintain a high level of personal hygiene by regular washing of hands and tools, stating that a member of the management of each concessionaire should insist on the use of a handheld thermometer on individuals coming into the abattoir in addition to the provision of hand sanitisers for mandatory use by everyone at the abattoir.
While stressing the need for crowd control to a maximum of four persons per cow during the slaughtering process at the slab, the Commissioner reiterated that the State Government would not condone any illegal conveyance of meat products from abattoir and slaughterhouses to the markets, except with the use of Eko refrigerated meat vans.
He directed that butchers should discourage their customers from touching meat or meat products but rather allow customers to make their choices while butchers handle the meat wearing gloves.
“The era of several customers touching meat or meat products on display is over, as the Lagos meat reforms will ensure that only wholesome meat is sold to the populace while promoting food safety”, the Commissioner said.