The Ministry of Local Government Decentralisation and Rural Development yesterday launched a Food Safety Guidelines for Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the country.
The 35-page book which highlighted policy and institutional framework and food safety regime in Ghana is to serve as a guide for MMDAs for effective monitoring, coordination, and enforcement of the by-laws.
It was launched under the theme: “Safe food now, for a healthier tomorrow” with a tagline, “Food safety everybody’s business.”
Speaking at the opening of the Food Safety Awareness Campaign in Accra, the Sector Minister, Mr. Daniel Botwe, in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Marian Kpakpah, explained that food safety was the act of protecting the food supply from microbial, chemical and physical hazards that might occur during all stages of food production.
He observed that there was an increase in global interest in the safety of foods available for consumption to improve public health and nutrition.
Mr. Botwe said the move would enhance access to food trade and increase food security and the protection of the environment while reducing poverty.
He charged the MMDAs to support government’s effort to improving food safety and public health through operationalisation of the guidelines.
Mr. Botwe regretted that nearly 600 million people, according to World Health Organisation (WHO), fall sick with 420,000 dying globally due to the consumption of contaminated food.
“A further estimated three million people around the world in developed and developing countries die every year from food and water-borne diseases,” hence the guidelines of food safety to facilitate mainstreaming of food safety issues in the country.
“These by-laws are meant to protect the health of consumers, ensure fair practices in the food trade, as well as provide capacity building for MMDAs to implement food safety systems,” he added.
Mr. Botwe commended the government of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada (GAC), for supporting the implementation of Modernising Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) programme through the needed budget support for effective service delivery to farmers.
On her part, Mrs. Alice Esinam Dawson, Deputy Director of Women in Agriculture Development (WIAD), entreated farmers to use the right chemicals and also not to process sick and dead animals, especially in the coming festive season to ensure the safety of consumers.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive of Accra, Ms. Elizabeth Sackey, underscored the need to intensify producer and consumer education to create awareness on the quality of food for consumption in order to minimise food poisoning.
She pledged her outfit’s support to continue screening food vendors and ensure practitioners in the food value chain adhere strictly to the by-laws.
BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE