GHANA – Investigations conducted by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) Ghana has established that the suspected food poisoning at the Marwako Food Restaurant East Legon branch was due to food contamination.

The food watchdog revealed that samples and swabs taken from the environment at the East Legon branch of Mawarko Fast Food Limited, indicated that there was heavy microbial load which may be linked to the food borne disease reported.

Food poisoning, is the result of eating contaminated, spoiled, or toxic food. The most common symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The World Health Organization (WHO) records that foodborne hazards are responsible for 137,000 deaths and 91 million acute illnesses in Africa every year, mostly affecting children under age 5.

According to an FDA statement issued and copied to the Ghana News Agency, samples collected from the Abelenkpe and La branches were also found to be heavily contaminated.

The levels of sanitation and hygiene in the food preparation areas, in all three facilities as well as the storage practices, were poor and contributed to the food poisoning, the statement read.

The FDA investigations indicated that the temperatures of deep freezers and refrigerators were far above the acceptable ranges. Ingredients used in cooking, cooked and ready-to-eat food items were also handled very poorly.

Processes to establish the root cause of the contamination, the agency claimed, was unfortunately tampered by the unapproved and unilateral decision of the management of Marwako, to destroy some of the food items whilst the investigation was in progress.

“The FDA has applied the appropriate regulatory sanctions and is also monitoring the implementation of the Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA) by the management of Marwako Fast Foods to address all the non-conformances identified to prevent any reoccurrence,” it said.

The statement said catering services at the facilities remained suspended as investigations were still ongoing.

The FDA assured the public that it would continue to closely monitor all activities at Marwako Fast Foods Limited to ensure compliance to the directives and as well update the public on any subsequent development.

Marwako’s woes started when customers took to twitter to complain of food poisoning after eating there.

Many consumers were hospitalized with many of the alleged victims referencing the eatery’s East Legon branch as the possible source of their discomfort. The consumers were said to have reported to the health centres with complaints of dysentery and stomach aches.

It is then that the Public Relations Officer for the Mawarko Restaurant, Amin Lamptey, informed that the restaurant had since apologized and abetted with the medical bills of some of its customers affected by the incident.

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