fbpx

FDA issues directives on water labelling

BY: Severious Kale Dery

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has issued new labeling guidelines to all commercial water producers in the country.

From October 1, 2019, all bottled and sachet water producers are to ensure that all labelling information on both primary and secondary packaging should be the same.

Additionally, the name and contact details of the franchisee(s), where applicable, should be on the front of the pack or the principal display panel of the secondary and the primary package.

The font size on the product label should be at least half the size of the largest font on the label.

The Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Mrs Delese A.A. Darko, outlined the guidelines at a stakeholder engagement at the FDA head office in Accra last Monday.

The engagement was for the FDA to interact with the stakeholders and discuss the way forward on the new directives.

Guidelines

Additionally, the name and contact details of the franchisee (s), where applicable, should be on the front of the pack or the principal display panel of the secondary as well as the primary package.

The font size on the product label should be at least half the size of the largest font on the label.

The Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Mrs Delese A.A. Darko outlined the guidelines at a stakeholder engagement at the FDA head office in Accra today.

Engagement

The engagement was to enable the FDA to interact with the stakeholders and discuss the way forward on the new directives.

The directive follows concerns raised about the current inconsistencies in the labelling information on the primary and secondary packaging of bottled and sachet water.

Mrs Darko explained that, "these concerns became apparent with the upsurge in the use of contract packaging services among the producers in the local industry.

Penalty

She warned that the FDA would come after those culprits who would be found culpable after October 1, 2019.

Offenders will be fined 2,500 penalty units amounting to GHc30,000 in default, they would face a five-year imprisonment term in addition to payment of the fine.

Public safety
She explained that the FDA was acting in fulfilment of its mandate by section 81 of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851) to provide and enforce standards for the sale of food.

Mrs Darko further explained that the directive was aimed at ensuring the wellbeing of the consumer.

"It also seeks to ensure public accessibility and easy identification of all essential products labelling information at the point of purchase as well as facilitate effective post market surveillance.

She announced that the directive was available on the official website of the FDA, while copies were currently being distributed to stakeholders.

Directives

"Today's event is therefore, a forum to formally disseminate the directive while providing insight on our labelling requirements to enable you; our stakeholders adequately prepare to comply with its requirements.

" This stakeholder meeting is of particular importance to us, as we believe that a directive in this area is needed in order to have a healthy policy environment to ensure that the enforcer, non-retail producer and manufacturer as well as consumers benefit from clear complete labelling to obtain important information on products purchased as the point of sale hereby promoting the protection of public health and safety," she explained.

Common mistakes

Speaking on "Mistakes on labelling of prepackaged water," the Head of Food Registration, Mr Percy Adomako Agyekum said some of the producers provided inadequate labelling information.

Some of the mistakes in labelling included, no location address, no Best before date, no batch number and no name and address of manufacturers as well as illegible labelling information use of similar brand name.

He spoke against misleading consumers with claims such as religious claims such as holy water, anointed water and curative claims.

Mr Agyekum stressed the need for good packaging materials to prevent contamination of the product.

Supporting FDA

He therefore, explored producers and manufacturers to support the FDA with relevant information regarding charlatan's in the industry in order for it to weed them out.

On storage, he said producers had a crucial role to play, reminding them that if the product was not properly kept and there was a problem with it anywhere, "no one will blame the retailer, all blames will be put at the doorsteps of the manufacturers and producers."

10 Seconds

The FDA has issued new labelling guidelines to commercial water producers to ensure public safety.