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Business News of Monday, 30 October 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

FDA intensifies food safety campaign ahead of Christmas

The Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Delese Darko, says measures are being put in place to prevent expired goods from getting onto the market ahead of the Christmas festivities.

Fears over the safety of food products on the Ghanaian market have grown in recent weeks after a string of seizure of unwholesome goods by the FDA.

The FDA impounded a container loaded with about 2,800 cartons of chicken at a private warehouse over suspicions that they were unwholesome.

The regulator had earlier destroyed 4,500 cartons of unwholesome canned fish that were said to be on transit to Togo, but had been diverted onto the Ghanaian market.

Hoewver speaking to Citi News following a clean-up exercise organized at the Agbogbloshie Market as part of the FDA’s food safety sensitization program, the Chief Executive Officer of the Authority, Delese Darko, said her outfit had intensified their checks at the markets and ports, to ensure that expired goods are prevented from flooding the Ghanaian market ahead of the holidays.

“We’re talking to them about not selling expired products. We’re also at the ports, we have port officers who are doing what they can to ensure that things that are coming in are safe,” she said

“Our port officers are on alert, it’s not just now we do it throughout the year, but we intensify post-market surveillance and port operations at this time of the year to make sure that [expired goods] don’t come in. They’ll not bring it December, they’ll bring them in way before then.”

She also advised the public to check the labels of packaged foods before they purchase them in order to avoid consuming expired products.

“We’re also doing public education, we’ve been on the radio with small messages around this period to tell people that they should make sure they look on labels before they buy the goods to ensure that they aren’t expired,” Delese Darko added

‘Market sanitation paramount’ The FDA also indicated its commitment to ensuring that the best sanitary practices are adhered to in the various markets in Accra. The Deputy Chief Executive of the FDA in charge of Food Inspectorate Division, Isabella Mansa Agra, said her outfit will meet with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, and the representatives of the traders in the next few weeks, to find solutions to the sanitation problems in the capital city’s markets.

Her call comes on the back of agitations from some of the traders who bemoaned the absence of proper sanitation facilities at the markets, despite the fact that they are forced to pay hundreds of cedis in market fees each year.

Also speaking at the clean-up exercise, Mrs. Agra acknowledged the concerns of the traders, and stated that, the health and safety regulator would liaise with the Metropolitan Assembly to address them.

“These are issues we have to discuss with the Assembly and the Environmental office. We have agreed that we’ll have a round-table discussion with the market queens, and we will forge a strategy to see how to resolve these things,” she told Citi News.