The Head of Food Safety Management Department at the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mrs. Joycelyn Adeline Egyakwa-Amusah, has called on pre-packed food dealers to be extra vigilant to ensure that expired products do not get to consumers.
“As we always say, food safety is a shared responsibility, 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,” she said.
She said, “Any product that goes beyond its life span, that is manufactured expiry date, means that the safety and quality of that product has been compromised and anyone who consumed an expired product is putting his or her life at risk”.
Mrs. Joycelyn Egyakwa-Amusah, called for a consistent check of expiry date on the part of consumers.
Mrs. Egyakwa-Amusah said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency that the continuous check-up by the traders would ensure that 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 stated.
She called on the public to contact the Authority and lodge a complaint about any expired products or visit the website for such a process, saying FDA would immediately follow up to ensure such products are taken off the shelves.
She cautioned sellers to check and withdraw all expired products from the shelves to prevent the consumption of unsafe foods.
She noted that the reason manufacturers add expiry or best-before date to their products was to alert the consumers that they could not vouch for the safety of the product beyond 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.
As part of its mandate, it undertakes operational activities, including inspection of Food Services establishments – restaurants, food joints, street-vendor food, and catering facilities; surveillance for unregistered facilities; and issuance of Food Hygiene Permits for approved facilities.
Others are to undertake Consumer Complaints Investigations into food product safety and quality issues; Foodborne diseases surveillance; maintain a database on foodborne diseases; investigation of outbreak cases; carry out food safety awareness campaigns for consumers – educational institutions and public places.
It also collaborates with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to ensure Food Safety at the District Level; drafting bills, and drafting and review of guidelines and codes of practice.
The Department has two operational units; the Food Service Establishment Inspections Unit and Public Education and Foodborne Disease Surveillance Unit.