The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has developed a code of hygienic practice for street-vended foods, in view of the widespread consumption of street food, Kofi Amponsah-Bediako, Head of Public Relations of the GSA has revealed.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday, Mr. Amponsah-Bediako said the code provided guidance in three principal areas, namely, suitable locations under which food should be sold, the calibre of people who should sell food and the processes under which the foods are prepared.
He explained that the locations for sale of food should be in areas which were free from open gutters, refuse dump, smoke, dust or other contaminants, adding that roads to and from areas serving the food should have adequate drainage, “while provision is also made to allow for cleaning.”
The code, Mr. Amponsah-Bediako stated, made it clear that the living quarters, toilets and areas where animals were kept should be completely separated from food handling areas.
“In addition, adequate ventilation should be provided to prevent excessive build up of heat, steam condensation and dust to remove contaminated air,” he said.
With regard to personnel handling the food, he said they must be trained, be made to undergo medical examination every six months and should also wear suitable protective clothing, including head cover and foot wear.
“When it comes to processing the food, raw materials or ingredients stored on the premises should be maintained under conditions that will prevent spoilage and contamination,” Mr. Amponsah-Bediako stressed.
He added that “water used for washing utensils, food and hand should not be kept for re-use.”
Mr. Amponsah-Bediako also explained that the code had been made available to some food vendor associations operating in the Greater Accra and Central regions and other parts of the country.
“Having developed the code in collaboration with some regulatory bodies in the country, we expect the regulatory bodies to check the operations of these food vendors to ensure that food offered for sale is hygienic for the consumer,” he said.
According to Mr. Amponsah Bediako, the code offers five ways that gave practical guidance to vendors and consumers when handling and preparing food.
“These are, first, keep clean surroundings; second, separate raw and cooked food; third, cook food thoroughly; fourth, keep food at safe temperatures; and, finally, use safe water and raw materials,” he said.
By Jonathan Donkor