Public advised to ensure safety of foods

BY: Della Russel Ocloo
Mr Kofi Essel of the FDA (middle), Ms Paulina Addy (left), President, Women in Agricultural Development, MoFA, and Prof. Matilda Steiner-Asiedu of the University of Ghana at the stakeholders’ forum. Picture: BENEDICT OBUOBI
Mr Kofi Essel of the FDA (middle), Ms Paulina Addy (left), President, Women in Agricultural Development, MoFA, and Prof. Matilda Steiner-Asiedu of the University of Ghana at the stakeholders’ forum. Picture: BENEDICT OBUOBI

The public has been advised to ensure the safety of the foods they consume to protect them from diseases.

According to the Head of the Food Industry Support Service at the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mr Kofi Essel, food-borne diseases were major causes of ill-health, especially among the vulnerable population, since they did not have the necessary knowledge and means to ensure the safety of the foods they consumed.

“The public has a greater responsibility to ensure that the foods they consume are safe as the FDA continues to monitor standards,” he said.

Mr Essel, who was addressing participants at a stakeholders’ forum organised by Nestlē Ghana to mark this year's World Food Day in Accra, added that consumers needed to show interest in guaranteeing the safety of foods throughout their entire production chain — from crop to the preparation and the consumption stages.

Objective

The basic objective of food safety, he said, was to prevent illnesses attributable to the consumption of food, “hence the need for all food handlers to ensure proper hygiene and sanitation when working with food to ensure adequate supply of safe, wholesome and healthy food”.

“We have raised consciousness, advocacy and education, as well as the use of technology, to help address food safety issues and food fraud,” Mr Essel said.

For instance, he said, sustained education and the enforcement of stringent rules from 2016 to date had led to a significant reduction in the adulteration of palm oil with Sudan dye, which was a major challenge in the country.

According to him, a national food safety policy bill was currently before Parliament, saying that when it was passed into law, all related food agencies would have to effectively collaborate to ensure that standards in food safety management were enforced.

Eating healthy diet

The Head of the Nutrition Department at the University of Ghana, Prof. Matilda Steiner-Asiedu, stressed the need for the public not only to eat healthy diets but also ensure they consumed the right proportion of food.

She mentioned practices that increased lifestyle diseases to include the high intake of carbohydrate diets and other associated foods.

For his part, the Managing Director of Nestlē Ghana, Mr Georgios Badaro, said awareness campaigns were part of efforts by his outfit to provide solutions for issues of food safety.

As a major player in the food chain business, he said, Nestle had the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the consuming public by adhering to high quality standards at all times.