The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has advised importers and exporters to register their cosmetics and household chemical products before offering them for sale to the public.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the FDA in charge of Food Registration, Mr. Roderick Daddey-Adjei, said the law stipulated that no retailer or importer should display any cosmetics product unless such persons had registered them with the authorities.
He was speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting with freight forwarders and importers on FDA-regulated products in Tema yesterday.
Mr. Daddey-Adjei said although sections 99 and 118 of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851) prohibited the importation of unregistered food, drugs, cosmetics, household chemical substances, medical devices, tobacco and substances of abuse, many importers continued to bring in such unregistered regulated products, many of which found their way onto the markets, thereby posing potential health hazards to unsuspecting consumers.
He said in view of that, the FDA decided to strictly enforce the prohibition of importation of unregistered products in March last year, but due to the COVID-19 lockdown and its ramifications, the agency could not implement that measure.
Enforcement of Act
The deputy CEO said effective February 1, this year, the Public Health Act, Act 851 of 2012, would be strictly enforced to facilitate compliance by the business community.
The FDA had, since the beginning of last year, reduced its registration fees on regulated products by between 10 and 20 per cent of previous fees charged to facilitate compliance, Mr. Daddey-Adjei said.
He said a risk-based approach had also been put in place to expedite the registration process of certain categories of products, such as biscuits and uncooked rice.
The Head of the Imports and Exports Control Division of the FDA, Mr. Emmanuel Yaw Kwarteng, said importers would also be required to provide their tax identification numbers (TIN) when applying for product registration, adding that the authority was going to map all product registration numbers to the TINs of specific importers who had registered them through the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) at the ports.
For his part, the Head of Operations, Imports and Exports Control Division of the FDA, Mr. Jacob Amoako-Mensah, said another worrying trend observed by the FDA was the importation of relatively small quantities of items from Europe and America under the guise of personal effects but which ended up on the market.
“Importers will be required to submit to the authority a comprehensive list of the personal effects they bring along when coming to the country, together with their batch codes and date marks,” said.
The Vice-Chairman and Technical Committee Head of the Tema branch of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Mr. Johnny Mante, expressed the hope that the FDA would find a lasting solution to the menace of importing unregulated products to save lives.
The Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association, Mr. Samson Asaki Awingobit, also called for more collaboration with the agency in the implementation of the policy to ensure that products that made their way to the market were wholesome.