GHANA – The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), has entreated producers of packaged drinking water to consider full line quality control measures in ensuring their products are free of microbial contaminants.
This comes after recent reports that declared most potable water brands on the market contaminated with faecal coliform.
The FDA said the risk of microbial contamination remains high in both raw and grid sourced water, and therefore producers must install and maintain systems to ensure that microbial pollution was well taken care of.
Addressing producers in the Volta and Oti regions at a workshop in Ho, Mr. Prince Opoku Adutwum, a Senior Regulatory Officer of the FDA, said focus on eliminating microbial contaminants should drive the whole production process along quality control and good management practices.
He said considering the risk of contamination during the production processes, producers would need a food safety management system in place that conforms strictly to legal, regulatory frameworks, and meets customer expectations.
Mr. Adutwum said the production facilities must maintain the best standards in food production, and that control points among other key installations should be functioning at the best capacities.
He said production systems must be installed, and that filters, ultraviolet anti-microbial systems among other control apparatuses were placed for best output.
“Your system must be fit for purpose. You must get it right the first time,” Mr. Opoku Adutwum told the producers.
The Regulatory Officer said extra measures including supplier quality assurance would also become necessary in ensuring raw materials were of the best quality, and standards aligned with food safety requirements.
He advised producers to scrutinize the production of raw materials by other companies, and work together to ensure safe transportation and handling of inputs including packaging materials, according to News Ghana.
“Quality is built into a product. You must not leave things to chance,” he said, calling for “keen” monitoring of the production systems and processes, and to prioritize regular testing in the standard operating procedures.
Participants were taught to undertake effective quality control and received enhanced knowledge on filtration systems and control point management.
They were also taught on the management of UV lights and counselled to consider them obsolete at half the manufacturer’s estimated burning hours, to help ensure the most effective sterilization.
In addition, they were trained on general management practices, personal hygiene, and integrated pest management.
Mr. Gordon Akurugu, Head of the FDA in the Volta region, said the training would be sustained for its role in the production of wholesome water, and said the Authority would provide the needed monitoring mechanisms to ensure best practices.
He said more than 90 percent of the 420 accredited producers in the Volta and Oti regions sourced ground water, noting a perceived cheaper alternative to the national supplier, and that the Authority was ensuring proper siting of the wells to minimize microbial contamination from toxic environmental history.
“FDA wants to assure customers that they will drink safe water,” he said while stating the Authority’s resolve to weed out uncertified producers of the essential fluid.