Oct. 2, GNA - Ghana needs modern food safety systems that are science-based to
effectively cope with its food safety challenges, Professor Jemmy F. Takrama,
Principal Research Scientist, Cocoa Research Institute, Ghana has recommended.
“The complexities of food production systems and potential presence of new hazards in foods have increased the need for science–based advice to support Ghana’s food control systems,” he said.
Professor Takrama made the recommendation in a keynote address at the First National Food Hygiene and Sanitation Conference organized by the Ho Polytechnic.
The two-day event was on the theme, “Food Hygiene, Sanitation and Safety in the Post MDG Era.”
Professor Takrama, Former Chairman of the National Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods, said those science-based systems need to be complemented by other improved food safety systems, such as “food safety policy, food legislation (encompassing food law, regulation and standards), food inspection, laboratory analysis, epidemiological surveillance of food-borne diseases, monitoring systems for chemical microbiological contamination in foods and information, education and communication.”
He cautioned that “failing to address this need, compromised a country’s ability to assure consumer protection, sustain food production, overcome food security challenges and optimize market access."
He said the recent ban by the EU on vegetables from Ghana proved that our traditional food safety systems are inadequate to cope with the complex and evolving array of food safety issues existing in the country.
He acknowledged that Ghana has a food safety control system but that is based on hygiene and adulteration and fraud inspection.
“Ghana is not short on laws governing food safety… we have over 18 pieces of laws and legislative instruments.., nine policies and strategies that complement the National Food Safety Policy.
There are four international organisations involved with Food Safety, which Ghana has to comply with…surprisingly we even have legislative instruments on possession and consumption of akpeteshie, and palmwine…also on hunting and the bush meat trade.”
Professor Takrama however said scientific evidence was needed to minimize the occurrence of food-borne hazards, to reduce and manage risks, and to improve the outcomes of decision-making.”
“This is where the Polytechnics, Universities and Research Institutes and Authorities related to food come into play,” he said.
He said a method to monitor food safety is needed for better data and risk management tools that could guide decisions about food safety to protect people.
Professor Takrama charged the Universities, Polytechnics and Research Institutes to seriously address the country’s data deficit to aid reliable decision-making.
He asked a series of questions related to reliable data, which he expected the proposed Research Centre in the Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology of Ho Polytechnic to provide answers.
“Only Ho Polytechnic can provide us this data” Professor Takrama said.