Fifteen Food Quality Experts have gone to school to upgrade their skills on food safety management systems.
Sponsored by the European Union (EU), the training formed part of the third phase of the West Africa Quality System Programme (WAQSP), that sought to strengthen regional economic integration as well as facilitate compliance with international trade rules and technical regulations.
The WAQSP is a trade development project of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), that focuses on the development and implementation of regional and national quality policy issues, in areas of standardisation, accreditation, meteology and conformity assessment all aimed at a credible and acceptable testing and certification processes in the sub region.
The participants were drawn from the food and research industry such as the Pioneer Food Cannary, Nich Cocoa, National Service Scheme, Blue Skies and Ever Pure.
The rest are from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Allied Cocoa and the Council for Industrial and Scientific Research (CSIR).
The Head of Macroeconomics and Trade Section of the EU delegation to Ghana, Mr. Christian Peters, speaking at the ceremony said the project formed part of efforts to promote trade in Africa.
According to him, Ghana has the potential to become a trade hub of the continent hence the need to create a conducive atmosphere for the private sector to flourish by demanding the best services to promote the sector.
Mr. Peters expressed optimism that the programme would help the participants acquire that level of expertise needed to acquire standards that would boast intra-regional trade as well as promote the health and welfare of the people.
The Head of Standards at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Michael Senaya said, food safety was a matter of concern and lauded the initiators of the WAQSP as it would go a long way to control the quality of food traded among countries.
“The issues of growing need to enforce quality laws would now be a thing of the past as necessary food safety measures would be put in place to protect the health of the citizenry”, he said.
He said the Ministry of Health is developing a national food safety policy which when implemented would complement the efforts of WAQSP.
The National Technical Coordinator of WAQSP, Mr. John Oppong Otoo said the third phase of the project begun last year following the successful implementation of the first and second phases.
He said the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 22000 which was applicable to all organisations would promote effective and safe food practices including Good Hygienic Practices (GHP) as well as the application of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP).
By Lawrence V. Akpalu & Alimatu Quaye