Veterinary and Environmental practitioners schooled on meat handling
7/25/2012 7:01:17 PM -
Bolgatanga, July 25, GNA - The Upper East Regional Director of the Food and Drugs Board, Mr Eugene Addo, has called for a review of the current system of meat hygiene inspection in slaughter houses.
'Meat controls are currently based on traditional inspection approach developed more than some 100 years ago to tackle the public health concerns of the era,' he said.
Mr Addo said this at a training forum for Veterinary and Environmental Officers in the meat industry on guidelines towards good meat handling in the region.
The forum, held in Bolgatanga under the theme 'Biosecurity in the meat value chain towards public health and safety,' was geared towards improvement of meat handling in the region to ensure public health and safety.
The Board, in its bid to avert the bad practices of handling meat products from abattoirs to meat shops and the haphazard manner of carting meat products in rotten and rusty trucks, initiated the forum to forestall unforeseen contingencies.
The Regional Director of the FDB, Mr Eugene Addo, said under the Food and Drug Act, 1992, a person who sells, prepares, packages, conveys, stores or displays for sale under unsanitary conditions commits an offence.
Food under the Act should be conveyed in a manner that preserves its composition, quality and purity, minimizing the dissipation of its nutritive properties from climate and other deteriorating conditions.
He therefore called on all stakeholders to be mindful of the law and see how best to synchronize efforts at ensuring public health and safety.
Mr Addo stated that the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, a system put in place by the Board to improve hygiene standards to prevent diseases from entering the food chain, called for a shared responsibility to achieving its goals.
He said meat production facilities in Ghana required approval per current regulations of food hygiene.
Professor Gabriel Ayum Teye, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Development Studies, said research revealed that most of the meat produced in Ghana was highly contaminated saying that Microbial loads on meat samples might be higher than the acceptable limits of 10-100 CFU per gram as hygienic rules for meat production and handling were not being observed.
He said butchers were essentially component of both livestock and food production chain and ought to be educated on good hygiene standards of meat production.
According to Proffesor Ayum Teye, apart from providing new abattoirs to improve the hygiene standards of meat production, facilities such as ideal meat vans were needed to help check the situation.
He said rules governing meat production and handling ought to be enforced by appropriate agencies.
Mr Timothy Tenbil, Secretary of Butchers Association, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) expressed worry about the current state of the Bolgatanga abattoir.
He said the abattoir, built in the 1960's, which could not contain the slaughtering of six ruminants now takes close to 20.
He therefore called on the district assembly to as a matter of urgency construct a new abattoir or possibly relocate the old to enhance good meat handling in the municipality.
Participants including District Chief Executives, veterinary and environmental practitioners, Animal Scientist and butchers, Ghana police and CEPS are attending the two day forum.