GHANA – The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) Ghana has equipped about 95 operators and managers of Food Service Establishments (FSEs) with skills on good hygienic and catering practices, so as to address food safety concerns.
Some of the topics covered include ‘documentation and records keeping’ as well as ‘Food Law’, placing special emphasis on the need for the FSEs to acquire the Food Hygiene Permit from the FDA.
Participants were drawn from the Cape Coast Metropolis, Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem, Mfantsiman and Assin-Fosu Municipalities, and Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese, Assin North and South Districts.
The Public Health Act, 2012, Act 851 provides that “any person who sells, prepares, packages, conveys, stores or displays for sale any food under insanitary conditions, commits an offence” .
The Act further prohibits all FSEs including restaurants, hotel kitchens, cafeteria and cafes, bakeries, mobile food vending operators and food delivery businesses from operating without the Food Hygiene Permit certificate.
Failure to comply can result in fines, imprisonment or both.
Madam Francisca Obeng, the acting Regional Head of the Authority, said the exercise also forms part of efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) three which is about good health and wellbeing.
She urged the participants to have the mindset of protecting public health and safety, stressing the need for FSEs to have a cordial relationship with the FDA.
She charged all FSEs to obtain the Food Hygiene Permit certificates, pointing that all establishments operating without the permit were perpetrating an illegality.
“All Food Service Establishments already registered with the FDA are to immediately display their certificates,” Madam Obeng added.
The FDA boss further admonished the public to be on the lookout for Food Hygiene Permits in the various establishments before patronizing their services in order to safeguard their own health and safety.
Prerequisites to acquire permit
Prior to being issued with a permit, the food operator needs to fill out an application form which is purchased at a cost and pay the processing fees.
The FDA will dispatch an inspector, i.e., health officer to the facility premises for inspection to determine if Food Safety Management System (FSMS) i.e. good processing, storage, distribution, quality control/assurance, safe and clean methods are in practice.
A copy of the report finding will be given to the applicant and if any modification or upgrading is required, Corrective Action and Preventive Action Report (CAPA) report will be issued and the applicant will be required to rectify the problem.
Upon successful implementation of the CAPA, a follow-up inspection may be conducted by the inspection team to ascertain the effectiveness of the implementation where applicable.
If the authorized official is satisfied that all the conditions have been met as required for the application, the applicant will be notified of the outcome and issued with the Food Hygiene Permit.
The Food Hygiene Permit is valid for a period of one year and should be renewed. An application for renewal should be submitted to the FDA a month prior to expiry.