The office of Port Health Tema has reminded exporters of food items to acquire the necessary food safety certificate before shipping.
Dr Raphael John Marfo, Director of Port Health, said failure to acquire such certificate from his outfit could lead to the rejection of the items in the receiving country.
Dr Marfo added that it was his outfit’s legal right to inspect and issue certificates before shipment, saying the core function of Port Health were disease surveillance and control, food hygiene and safety, port sanitation and conveyance inspection, as well as pest/vector surveillance and control.
He indicated that some of the importers and exporters were oblivious of the fact that they needed such certificate hence they ship food items out after other state agencies such as the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) had inspected them, a situation he blamed on unclear laws that crisscross each other.
He said his outfit was taking up the issue with the Ministry of Trade and Industries to ensure that the needed sensitisation was carried out for importers and exporters on food safety and hygiene and the need to acquire the necessary certificate from Port Health.
Meanwhile, in 2019, the office inspected thousands of metric tonnes of fish frozen fish, gari, reefer products, frosty bite ice cream, chocolate/cocoa products, yam, cooking oil, Nkulenu palm fruit, kenkey, canned tuna, corn flour, palm wine among others.
He said a total of 2,504,158.58 metric tonnes of frozen fish, 15,688 metric tonnes of gari, 503,812 and 236,123 metric tonnes of reefer products and chocolate/cocoa products respectively were inspected in 2019.
Touching on the vaccination against yellow fever, he disclosed that his outfit also had a mandate of vaccinating prospective travellers against yellow fever and issuance and renewal of the yellow fever cards.
Dr Marfo added that 6,241 crew and prospective travellers were vaccinated against yellow fever in 2019.
The Port Health Director indicated that as part of their mandate, they partner the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to destroy food items declared as unwholesome by relevant state agencies.
Some of the items destroyed in 2019, he noted, were cartons of frozen beef brisket bones, frozen chicken parts, frozen cattle hide and feet, frozen beef liver used clothes, tyres and personal effects, rice, assorted energy drinks, and soft drinks, among others.