GHANA – The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ghana, has established the Centre for Laboratory Services and Research and the Centre for Import and Export Control as part of reinforcing its regulatory function to deliver improved services to support a strong implementation of the African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA) regime.
The two new facilities are also expected to monitor and control imports of unregistered products into the country.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Delese Mimi Darko, the centres have been accredited and certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), making its services internationally recognized.
Addressing the media at a press engagement in Accra, the CEO was confident the Laboratory Centre, which she described as having the largest testing scope under one roof in Africa, would support the implementation of the One District, One Factory (1D1F) initiative and be a key collaborator to the AfCFTA.
Mrs. Darko, in attesting to the efficiency of the facilities, stated that the probability of any country rejecting products that have come through the FDA laboratory is almost zero.
FDA’s regulatory milestones
The FDA has become a key stakeholder in the implementation of the free trade area agreement through increased regulation and safety assurance as the policy triggers increased influx of goods and services into the country.
The Authority, through the policy’s implementation, has also taken proactive steps through the Centre for Import and Export Control and the launch of the zero tolerance for unregistered imported products, to ensure that all entry points and borders including the Tema and Takoradi sea ports, the Kotoka International Airport, as well as the borders in Western, Volta, Bono, Upper West and Upper East regions are effectively controlled by its officials.
As its contribution to supporting the growth of local small and medium enterprises, the FDA had earlier introduced the Progressive Licensing Scheme (PLS) for food cottage facilities to ensure appropriate standards in the manufacturing of these products.
The PLS is an initiative that seeks to introduce a three staged licensing regime to support small business units to improve on the safety, quality and wholesomeness of their products.
Mrs. Darko reiterated that the aims of the PLS is to ensure that 60 percent of the food sold in the A-rated and other supermarkets in the country, are ‘Made in Ghana’ products.
She pointed out that since the inception of the programme in July last year to date, 1103 businesses in the food sector have been registered.
The FDA boss informed that the authority is working with local supermarkets to ensure made in Ghana products have dedicated and well branded shelves to make them more conspicuous to the shopping public.
Additionally, the FDA has advised the general public to buy packaged, bottled, canned foods and consumables from permanent shops.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani, Mr. Daniel Nti, a Senior Regulatory Officer at the FDA said it is dangerous to buy canned foods and consumables from hawkers and wayside traders.
He said food safety was essential to advancing human health, stressing that while the authority intensifies surveillance and monitoring to ensure wholesome food in the market, it was also imperative for the public to buy food items from shops.