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Regional News of Thursday, 24 December 2020

Source: GNA

Consumers told to be mindful of what they buy for Christmas

Logo of the FDA Logo of the FDA

Officers at the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) in Takoradi have cautioned the public on the possibility of taking home harmful items with the tendency to cause harm as they go on a shopping spree ahead of the Yuletide.

According to them, there are so many inferior and fake products on the market, with some being cheaper and substandard, while others may pose a threat to consumers.

They noted that during festive seasons, importers, retailers and manufacturers often try to boost their market and therefore release new products on the market, which are cheaper than that of their competitors, especially those that are close to expiry.

Speaking in an interview with the GNA, Mr Francis Odum Edem, a Senior Regulatory Officer at the Western Regional Office of the FDA argued that though there were some identifications consumers could visibly see to identify as a good or safe products, however, there were some that could only be identified by the regulators, hence the need to be cautious of the products they buy on the market.

He explained that to check for expiry dates on products consumers should note imprints such as “Exp, Expiry, Best Before/BB, Best by or Use by” followed by the date and cautioned that no product should be consumed when the expiry date was due under the pretext that there is a “grace period” within which the product can be used after expiry.

They should also ensure that the imprints are written in English that can be read and understood to know what the product is about and should send a copy of the product to the FDA or GSA for checks to be done on them if written language is in any other language.

Mr Edem further implored consumers to also look out for the Ghana Standard Authority embossment or mark on the products and the Food and Drugs Authority number on them if they are locally manufactured products before buying.

He cautioned that tin products that were leaking should be avoided as well as products that were bloated whether paper or tin since some microbial activities took place making it poisonous and unsafe for consumption.

He also cautioned against the use of products especially cans that were dented, since the liners in the cans were destroyed making the contents toxic for consumption, while meats and poultry products should be kept frozen as food safety measures were observed.

For his part, Mr John Opoku Danquah, Western Regional Manager of the GSA pointed out that the mandate of the Authority was to ensure that products, goods and services on the market whether for local consumption or export met the required standards, and were of good quality, safe and consumable.

He said though the regulators were doing their best to ensure safety for consumers there was the need for consumers to also take personal responsibility to make sure that what they buy had date of manufacture and expiry before buying them to prevent any damage caused to the body.

However, he said one cannot determine whether products on the markets were all registered or wholesome and certified by either the Food and Drugs Authority and the Ghana Standard Authority to be safe for consumption or for use hence, the need to be cautious when buying.

He said tin products or sensitive products like meat products and poultry among others should not be consumed when the expiry date was about two to three months or less.