FDA tasks pre-packaged food vendors to be cautious not to jeopardize safety

GHANA – The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has urged pre-packed food sellers to exercise extreme caution to prevent the distribution of expired goods to consumers.

Mrs. Joycelyn Adeline Egyakwa-Amusah, the FDA’s Head of the Food Safety Management Department noted that food safety is a shared responsibility and the consumer has a role to play. 

“That is why all the information is on the pre-packed food and the seller ensures that what goes to the consumer is not expired.

“Any product that goes beyond its life span, that is, manufactured expiry date, means that its safety and quality has been compromised. Anyone who consumes an expired product is putting his or her life at risk,” she said.

She called for a consistent check of the expiry date on the part of consumers to ensure that the food products in the market were of high quality and safe for consumption.

“As a seller, you are expected to make sure a product on your shelves has their expiry or best before date largely displayed on it, when the expiry date is elapsing, you take the things off,” she told Ghana News Agency.

To ensure that such items are removed from the shelves, she urged the public to contact the Authority and file a complaint about any expired products, or to visit the website for such a process, promising that the authority would swiftly take action. 

Mrs. Joycelyn also advised retailers to rid their shelves of expired products.

She pointed out that manufacturers include an expiration or best-before date on their items to inform customers that they cannot guarantee the safety of the item after that date.

The Food Safety Management Department’s scope of mandate includes regulating commercial facilities that prepare and/or sell cooked foods; undertaking foodborne disease surveillance and investigation, and being the contact point for the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) in Ghana.

It carries out operational tasks as part of its mandate, such as inspecting food service establishments, keeping an eye out for unregistered facilities, and issuing food hygiene permits to approved facilities.

Others are to investigate consumer complaints on the safety and quality of food products, monitor foodborne disease outbreaks, maintain a database on foodborne disease cases, and conduct food safety awareness programs for consumers, educational institutions, and public spaces.

Additionally, it works together with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to design legislation, guidelines, and codes of practice, as well as to assure food safety at the district level.

The Public Education and Foodborne Disease Surveillance Unit and the Food Service Establishment Inspections Unit are the Department’s two operating divisions, as reported by My Joy Online.

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