GHANA – The Ghana Food and Drugs Authority has scaled up the Street Food Vending Permit (SFVP) Scheme launched in November last year to its Upper East Regional Office.
The scheme is aimed at ensuring foods sold on the street meet the basic hygiene and safety requirements to boost consumer confidence and safeguard public health. It charges street food vendors to apply for a permit at a cost of GHC 5.00 (USD 0.73) after which they are trained, registered and then licensed.
Launched on the theme: “No Street vending license permit, no business”, the FDA will move to stop street food vendors with no permits from operating.
The officials were dressed in branded T-shirts and held placards with inscriptions like,” check for food hygiene permit before buying food” to attract the public’s attention and drive the message home.
Speaking during the launch in Bolgatanga, Mr. Sebastian Mawuli Hotor, the FDA Regional Head, highlighted that street food was one that even the most cautious food safety individual still fell prey at one point or another.
On this note, the regulator saw it fit to officially regulate and license street food vendors hence keep closer tabs on them and identify areas for improvement.
Mr. Hotor was positive that the initiative would help reduce foodborne diseases in the region and called on stakeholders, including members of the public to collaborate with the FDA for an effective and successful programme for a healthier and safer country.
The vendors will be required to attain food handling certificates which testifies of their aptness to handle food.
FDA acknowledged the efforts and support of the Regional Coordinating Council, the Ghana Health Service, the Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit, the Traditional Caterers Association, and the media, over the years.
As part of efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of food security, good health and wellbeing, and inclusive development, the FDA, together with the FAO, initiated the Healthy Street Food Incentives project in 2018.
Thus far, the project has among others assisted the FDA to conduct baseline studies and introduced digital management platforms for the management of the street food vending industry in Ghana.
According to FAO, globally, a projected 2.5 billion people depend on street foods daily because of their affordability and accessibility. In urban Ghana, street food vending constitutes an increasingly popular informal business that provides an important source of income for many households and is dominated by women.
In spite of their economic contribution to the many households, studies have shown that some street food vendors lack basic understanding of proper food-handling practices and concerns about poor hygiene and spread of foodborne diseases continue to be the bane of this industry, leading to continuous increase in reported cases of food poisoning.