The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) has cautioned citizens against patronising food sold by gutters and other unhygienic places.
It has been a long-held cliché by the youth that food, especially waakye, sold by the gutter is more tasty and delicious. Waakye is a local delicacy made with rice and beans.
But in an interview with the Ghanaian Times, on the sideline of a training workshop in Accra on Monday, Mrs Jocelyn Agyakwa-Amusah, Head, Food Safety Coordination and Consumer Education Department at the FDA, said hygiene should not be compromised for taste.
“Who says waakye sold by the gutter tastes better? Do not buy it by the gutter. Look out for a hygienic environment to buy your wakye,” she said.
MrsAgyakwa-Amusahsaid “when going to buy food, there should be some key indicators one must look out for before patronising same.
“So before you buy your waakye or any other food, look out for how the person is dressed. Is the person using his bare hands to serve you? You don’t encourage that.
“You have to buy from someone who is well protected by wearing a head cover, wearing a clean apron, no long nails and ofcourse, the food must be hot. Those are the things you look out for as a consumer”.
MrsAgyakwa-Amusahsaid very soon traders would be required to have FDA food vending permits before they conduct their businesses.
“Now FDA is giving street food vendors permits. We have completed the piloting and soon, every vendor would be required to be permitted to ensure that they have complied with good hygienic practice,” she added.
MrsAgyakwa-Amusahsaid “as the years go by, it is the expectation of the FDA that more street food vendors would comply with good hygienic practice because self-compliance is key.”
The two-day workshop in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service was on the implementation of an integrated foodborne disease surveillance system and food safety emergency response plan for the country.
It brought together disease surveillance officers of the Health Service, officers from the Public Health Department and FDA desk officers across the country.
It is aimed at quickly identifying foodborne diseases from the health facilities so as to investigate outbreaks quickly and arrest same from spreading.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI