FDA fines Royal Jade restaurant GH¢25,000

SONY DSCThe Royal Jade Chinese Restaurant at East Legon in Accra, has been fined GH¢25,000 by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), for selling unwholesome food to the public.

According to a highly-placed FDA source, the fine – also known as administrative charge – was on Wednesday imposed on the Chinese restaurant, which also had its branch at Dansoman, for “clearly violating the Public Health Act”.

It said the FDA had been mandated by Parliament (Amendment) Instrument, 2013 (LI2206) to impose administrative charge of GH¢25,000.00 as per fees and charges on people and establishments that violate the Public Health Act “in the manner the Chinese restaurant did”.

When contacted yesterday, Head of Communications, FDA, Mr. James Lartey, was tight-lipped on the matter, but only told the Ghanaian Times that “whatever sanctions are agreed on would be draconian enough to serve as a deterrent to other prospective culprits”.

Aside the fine, the two restaurants have been ordered not to operate until they cleared.

He denied claims that the Dansoman and East Legon restaurants had been opened to the public, explaining that FDA officials only visited the facilities on Tuesday to open them for cleaning.

“Without any shred of doubt, they would have worsened their plight if they were caught working against our order,” he warned.

The restaurants have also been directed to renew their operating permit which expired since October 17, 2012; acquire a food hygiene permit and ensure that only wholesome products are used in cooking for customers.

Mr. Lartey cautioned other restaurants to be guided by the Royal Jade experience, “and do the right thing at all times.”

Another source told the Ghanaian Times that the Royal Jade Chinese Restaurant, would also be asked to sign a bond of good behaviour for a couple of years.

“If we find them to have flouted the bond, we may have no option than close down the restaurants permanently,” it said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lartey has hinted that the FDA will soon embark on a massive exercise nationwide, to ensure that hotels, restaurants, bars and all those in the hospitality industry, abide by the law regarding their operations.

It is recalled that the FDA, acting on a special investigation by The Ghanaian Times, on Friday June 26, raided two branches of the Royal Jade Restaurant at East Legon and Dansoman in Accra, for using expired products to prepare food for customers.

The operations, carried out simultaneously at the two branches, took place after about two months’ of undercover investigations by The Ghanaian Times at the main branch of the restaurant at East Legon.

At the Dansoman branch, the team, led by Ms Maria Lovelace-Johnson, the Authority’s Head of Foods Safety Management Department, locked up the premises, after retrieving hundreds of the expired Chinese canned food products from the restaurant’s kitchen.

The products included cans of Po-ku mushroom, with manufacturing date of November 14, 2010 expiring in 2013; Del Monte quality fresh cut cream style corn (produced on May 22, 2009, expiring in 2011), winter bamboo shoots produced on March 27, 2009 expired on December 31, 2012) and mushroom dark soy sauce which had no information of its expiry date.

Mrs Lovelace-Johnson explained that the premises were closed down because its management lacked the commitment of maintaining standards.

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), formerly the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) was established in August 1997. It is the National Regulatory Authority mandated by the public Health Act,2012(Act 851) to regulate food, drugs, food supplements, herbal and homeopathic medicines, veterinary medicines, cosmetics, medical devices, household chemical substances, tobacco and tobacco products.

By John Vigah

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