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Business News of Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Source: GNA

Veterinary Unit excluded from animal products inspection at Tema Port


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The Veterinary Regulatory Unit at the Tema Port has been excluded from the joint inspection management system set up to prevent the importation of coronavirus infected products into Ghana.

Dr Stephen Bonnah, Head of the Veterinary Regulatory Unit, said it was urgent for his outfit to be included in the joint inspection management system to ensure effective monitoring of animal and animal products, which had a high risk of serving as carriers of diseases into the country

Dr Bonnah indicated that his outfit had for some time been eliminated from inspection activities at the country’s port, hence, reducing the desired levels of influence and control the Unit had on animal and animal products making it through the ports into the country.

He said, “At the moment, at the Tema Port, veterinary is not in charge of products of animal origin, ” adding that the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has been put in charge of animal and animal products which was hitherto his outfit’s responsibility at the port.

He noted that the Unit had the necessary facility at its disposal to conduct all procedures involved in the screening and examination of animal and animal products so that such diseases transmitted through animals were detected and destroyed.

He added that his outfit’s laboratory was one of the most sophisticated facilities around saying "we even handled referrals from other countries in West Africa."

Dr Bonnah said, the Veterinary Regulatory Unit currently issued import permits to importers of animal and animal products to protect the consumer and prevent the transmission of trans-border animal diseases.

“Before the import permit is issued, we do a lot of risk-assessment. We do not easily give out the import permit. We have to know the disease situation of the place you are getting your animal products from. And we can equally block these permits when the alarm is raised,” he added.

He, however, indicated that his outfit needed to engage in physical examination of items to be able to fully fulfill its mandate.

“The OIE, the World Organisation for Animal Health, Section 5 of the law, declares the authenticity of veterinary taking over meat inspection and not only live animals,” he said.

He revealed that dog feed was commonly imported from China, but he did not even know the statistics of those imports, because those imports did not go through his office.

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