OWNERS of the Royal Jade Chinese Restaurant would be arrested and prosecuted, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), has disclosed.
Speaking to The Ghanaian Times on Tuesday, shortly after closing down the restaurant, a source at the FDA assured, “the law would be allowed to take its course”.
“Clearly, we have sufficient evidence that the restaurants used expired canned food products to cook for their customers and that’s why they were closed down.
“We are now going to put together our final report and send it to our legal department for the necessary action to be taken”, the source affirmed.
According to Section 100 of the Public Health Act, 2012, (Act 851), a person commits an offence, if that person sells or offers for sale, food (b) that is unwholesome or unfit for animal or human consumption; (e) injurious to health, (f) is not of the nature, quality or prescribed standards.
The punishment for these offences is unambiguously stated.
According to Section 110 of the same Act, a person who contravenes this commits an offence and is liable, on summary conviction to a fine — of not less than 1,000 penalty units (GH¢12,000), and not more than 7,500 penalty units (GH¢90,000) — or to a term of imprisonment, not less than four years — and not more than 15 years or to both.
The source said the punishment is not to push businesses completely out of operation but to reform the system and to deter other violators of the law.
The FDA, acting on a special investigation by The Ghanaian Times, last Friday raided two branches of the Royal Jade Restaurant at East Legon and Dansoman, both in Accra, for using expired products to prepare food for their 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, locked up the premises, after retrieving hundreds of the expired Chinese canned food products from the restaurant’s kitchen.
Ms. Lovelace-Johnson, on Tuesday led another team to close down the East Legon branch, until further notice.
Speaking to the Times later, she reiterated her warning to restaurants without food hygiene permits to obtain them from the FDA, since they would be seriously dealt with, if caught.
“We are also cautioning restaurants with the food hygiene permit to paste it at the reception and lobbies of their facility,” and advised the public not to patronise restaurants and bars without the requisite permits and also report them to the authorities, for appropriate action against them.
By John Vigah