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Health News of Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Source: GNA

FDB advocates measures to eliminate food borne illnesses

Accra, July 15, GNA - The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) on Tuesday called for the enactment of appropriate, science-based and well-designed measures to eliminate food-borne illnesses, which claim the lives of 86,100 annually with 10 people dying hourly of food-borne illnesses in the country. Mr John Odame-Darkwa, Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Food, speaking at the opening of a conference on Food Safety in Accra said some 2.335 million Ghanaians suffered from food-borne illness and described the figure as exceeding all other reported known causes of mortality in health facilities.

The conference, which formed part of the Food Safety Week celebrations organized by the FDB, brought together stakeholders in the food industry as well as food regulators. It is under the theme; "Clean Markets, Safe Food, A Healthy People".

It will also develop a food safety response plan, which will aim at enhancing the protection of the nation's food supply system through prevention, detection, appropriate response and recovery. Mr Odame-Darkwa said it was unfortunate that despite all efforts by FDB and other stakeholders to ensure food safety, it still remained an issue that needed an urgent attention. He expressed regret that food stuffs, especially fruits and vegetables were exposed to unhygienic environment causing food contamination, which could be harmful to our health.

He called on consumers be food safety conscious, ensure clean markets and urged traders to sell hygienic foodstuffs to consumers. Professor Samuel Sefa-Dedeh, Dean of Faculty of Engineering of the University of Ghana, said market played an important role in the food supply chain, which needed to be regulated. He called for the review of the institutional arrangements for the transportation of food from the farm to the market and to various homes of consumers. He also called for the improvement of the source of safe and nutritious foods, a proper market infrastructure, maintenance and administration to ensure safe food handling.