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Health News of Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Source: GNA

FDA warns public of food adulteration

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has cautioned against the mixing of food with adulterants, describing it as injurious to human health.

It said food adulteration was on the increase and very common on the Ghanaian urban markets with perpetrators plying on the ignorance of innocent buyers.

He, therefore, urged consumers to report any unusual changes in their food to the FDA.

Mr Edward Archer, a Principal Regulator of the Food Safety Management Unit of the FDA, gave the caution at a Food Safety Advocacy Campaign for Traditional Caterers Association members in Greater Accra.

Mr Acher defined food adulteration is an act of adding or mixing something inferior, harmful, useless and unnecessary to food.

It is intended to reduce manufacturing cost, increase bulk or weight, to make it appear better and conceal inferiority.

The seminar was organized with the Queen Mothers’ Foundation of Ghana to raise the awareness of caterers on the dangers associated with food adulteration and the need to be on the lookout and help in the campaign against it.

Mr Acher pointed out that even colours used in making tie and dyes designs, and miscellaneous compounds were mixed with some foods to impart certain properties and to disguise deteriorated or spoiled foods to give an idea of freshness.

He said cassava flour, roasted maize meal, maize flour, dried and grinded pear seed, cooking oil, water and fresh cassava chips were also added to groundnut paste to increase its weight.

Maize flour, milled fresh groundnuts, gari and wheat flour, he said, were also added to grinded agushie to increase its weight.

“This act is very common, thus posing so much danger to consumers’ health,” he complained.

For fat and oils like palm oil, dzomi, coconut oil, groundnut oil and soyabean oil; palm kernel oils, he said, Sudan Dyes, were added to give it the red colour, which he said, was the demand of consumers.

He explained that cola nuts and Sudan dyes used in pepper, groundnut paste and palm oil could increase anxiety and nervousness at high doses, decrease nutritive value of products and could even cause cancer.

Mr Acher urged the caterers and the public to report any unusual change in the food items they buy from the market to FDA for the necessary actions to be taken.

Ms Maria Lovelace-Johnson, the Head of the Food Safety Management Unit of the FDA, took participants through the five keys to keep their food safe.

The five keys, she explained, were keeping themselves clean, separating raw food from cooked food, cooking and reheating their food well to avoid contamination, keeping food at safe temperatures and always using wholesome raw materials and buying from clean places.

She noted that if these steps were not taken, it could lead to food poisoning and reiterated the the Food and Drugs Law prohibited the sale of unwholesome, poisonous or adulterated for foods.

Members of the Foundation said they were ready to prevent food-borne illness, hence, the initiative to collaborate with FDA to educate women.