Gov’t Charged To Make Food Safety A Public Health Priority – Modern Ghana (press release) (blog)

Gov't Charged To Make Food Safety A Public Health Priority

The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) has urged the Government to make food safety a public health priority.

Dr Kofi Amponsah-Bediako, the Public Relations Officer, GSA, explained that this was because food safety plays a pivotal role in developing policies and regulatory frameworks.

He said there was the need to establish and implement effective food safety systems that ensure food producers and suppliers along the whole food chain operate responsibly and supply safe food to consumers.

Dr Amponsah-Bediako made the appeal in his presentation at a day’s training workshop for media professionals on Codex in Accra.

The training workshop, was organised by the GSA in collaboration with the National Codex Committee (NCC) on the theme ‘Understanding Codex’.

The primary objective of the training programme was to enhance the understanding of media professionals on Codex issues.

Dr Amponsah-Bediako said unsafe food poses global health threats and endangers everyone.

He said annually, millions of children contract diarrhoea diseases with many thousands dying; adding that pregnant women and the elderly were also vulnerable to diarrhoea diseases.

He said unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of diarrhoea and malnutrition, threatening the nutritional status of the most vulnerable.

He said: ‘Where food supplies are insecure, people tend to shift to less healthy diets and consume more ‘unsafe foods’ – in which chemical, microbiological and other hazards pose health risks.’

On food contamination, Dr Amponsah-Bediako said food could become contaminated at any point of production and distribution; stating that the primary responsibility lies with food producers.

He said a large proportion of food-borne disease incidents were caused by foods improperly prepared or mishandled at home, in food service establishments or markets.

With regards to food safety, Dr Amponsah-Bediako said the importance of food safety lies in the fact that it helps to achieve better human nutrition through healthy nutritious diets.

He said improving food safety was key in achieving social and economic development.

He said working towards measures for the attainment of positive results in form of food safety implies the rigid adherence to Codex Standards.

Dr Amponsah said Ghana needs to work as quickly as possible to implement food safety laws that emanate from Codex.

He said the Codex experience serves as a good guide for all countries, including developing ones such as Ghana.

‘The country needs to get things right as far as food safety issues are concerned,’ Dr Amponsah-Bediako said.

He said the benefits of Codex Standards include protection of consumer health both within and outside national borders, strengthening of food safety systems and reduction of food-borne diseases.

Mr Frank Kofi Nagetey, the Deputy Director-General, GSA, in-charge of Operations, said unsafe food was dangerous to our health adding that ‘this explained why as a nation we needed to focus on food safety and propagate its benefits to the entire society.

‘Safe food leads to good health, thereby making each and every one of us more productive in what we do at our various workplaces,” he added.

Mr Odame Darkwah, a member of the Codex NCC, who chaired the function, tasked journalists to carry the message on food safety to Ghanaians, to ensure that food processors and manufacturers apply themselves to Codex Standards.

The NCC, which is being hosted by the GSA, is a consultative group to the Government of Ghana on Food Safety issues and is made up of Stakeholder institutions which have a part to play in ensuring food safety in Ghana.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission is a joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme that was established in 1963.

The Codex Alimentarius (Food Code) is a collection of international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice whose main purpose is to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in food trade.

This food code serves as the basis for many national food standards and regulations.

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