Many food environments worldwide have transformed in the past few decades. Consumers are often in a dilemma on what they should eat, how, and when to prepare meals. Some of them face resource and time constraints. An increase in the multinational operations, the development of supply chains and rising income has brought a wide selection of food and drink options in Ghana. Food safety was a major concern for the West African country for many years. In this article, we discuss the new food safety policy that Ghana adopted.
The National Food Safety Policy
Ghana passed a Food Safety Policy during a Stakeholders Meeting on April 27, 2015. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) offered financial and technical support to the Government of Ghana as it developed the food policy. The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) organized the meeting in Accra, and it coordinated the development of the policy.
The Stakeholders Meeting had many attendants including representatives of the Ministries of Interior, Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Tourism Culture and Creative Arts, Health, Food and Agriculture, Trade, Veterinary Services, the Ghana Standards Authority, and the University of Ghana.
The Director of Veterinary Services chaired the meeting while the Deputy Director of Food, from the FDA, gave a welcome address and stated the meeting’s objectives. The WHO gave a solidarity message whereas the Chief Executive Officer of the FDA gave an opening address. The FDA official said that most countries have food safety concerns and they face unique challenges. Now, the coronavirus food safety is a major concern for the whole world as countries try to control the spread of the virus.
Ghana has been committed to addressing food safety concerns for many years. The World Health Organization helped the West African country to conduct a Food Safety Situational Analysis in 2010 that guided it when it developed the Food Safety Policy. The FAO and the WHO created a stakeholder technical committee comprising consultants, food experts, and government officials.
The main goal of the National Food Safety Policy is to highlight the role of stakeholders in ensuring public health and enhance coordination in the control of food safety. Some of the objectives, strategies, and measures that will enable the food safety policy to achieve its objectives include:
- Ensure harmony and cooperation among stakeholders to establish a food safety coordination mechanism
- Amend and review current regulations and legislation on food safety to promote synergy
- Enact new legislation that will improve food safety
- Coordinate food laboratories to improve the quality of food available for consumption
- Provide the right infrastructure necessary to manage food safety
The National Food Safety Policy states the institutional arrangement for implementing it including the national coordination mechanism. Also, it defines the roles of all stakeholders. The policy has enhanced food safety in the production chain of Ghana in the past five years.
Countries with developed food safety systems experience improved food security, public health, and a decrease in poverty levels. In the recent past, many governments have developed an interest in the safety of foods for consumption. Ghana developed a new food safety policy in 2015 to ensure that Ghanaians consume safe food. Since the Government of Ghana passed the policy, it has been working with international agencies, the private and public sectors.