Home Headlines Ghana Implements Food Safety Master Plan to Address National Challenges

Ghana Implements Food Safety Master Plan to Address National Challenges

Aflatoxins Food Safety
Food Safety

Ghana, through the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and national stakeholders in the food value chain, has adopted a Food Safety Master Plan to address food safety challenges and improve food control systems in the country.

The five-year Master Plan was developed by the FDA together with a constituted national food safety stakeholder committee with support from the African Union Commission to address gaps in the country’s food safety control systems.

This was developed based on a self-assessment of the food control system of the country to identify gaps and develop home-grown recommendations to improve the nation’s food sector.

Mr Roderick Daddey-Adjei, Deputy CEO of FDA in charge of Food Registration, said the plan showed the direction in which food safety and control systems should be pursued in the next five years with specific objectives and expected results.

“It is also a practical document that would guide stakeholders on how to translate the plan into action with sections on implementation, including details on activities to address strategic priorities, cost estimates, and roles of key players,” he said.

Mr Daddey-Adjei said the plan would serve as a blueprint to guide stakeholders from time to time to ensure that foods produced and consumed were safe.

He added that they would be constituting a steering committee that would be championing the implementation and rollout of the plan in collaboration with all other relevant stakeholders.

Mr Daddey-Adjei said the major challenges with food safety identified were the lack of education and knowledge on the proper handling and safekeeping of foods.

He added that the FDA would be engaging in a routine sensitisation with food handlers, especially food vendors, on the right ways to keep and handle food.

Dr Rose Omari, National Consultant in the development of the plan, said there were weak legal and institutional frameworks challenges to food safety and control systems that needed to be addressed.

She said there were overlaps in institutional mandates and a poorly coordinated institutional framework

Dr Omari, who is  also Deputy Director, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research-Science and Technology  Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI), therefore proposed that institutional mandates should be clearly defined and their coordination strengthened.

She said the plan had  proposed a review of the Public Health Act to make room for the inclusion of a rapid alert system to bind institutions to respond quickly to food safety concerns.

“The Public Health Act does not make provision for a rapid alert system and emergency preparedness and response. So we are proposing a revision of the Act to incorporate a rapid alert system and emergency preparedness and response,” she said.

Dr Omari said food safety was everyone’s responsibility, adding that it was everyone’s role to ensure that food produced and consumed was safe and free from contamination.

Madam Winta Sintayehu, Senior Programme Officer, Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa, African Union Commission, said Ghana’s master plan formed part of a continental African Food Safety Agenda they were enrolling in 12 African countries.

He said every year, millions of dollars were lost to food safety challenges, saying, this had become necessary for the Commission to support countries to build regulatory and infrastructural frameworks to address food challenges.

“This would go a long way to achieve food safety and trade safe food across the continent and ensure the availability of safe and improved food for the citizenry,” she added.

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