The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, launched the ‘Food Safety Guidelines’ document for implementation by Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to ensure the highest standards of food consumed in the country.
The purpose of the guidelines launched in collaboration with the Women in Agriculture Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is to provide a framework that will guide MMDAs to mainstream food safety issues in their operations and bye-laws.
Its implementation is to ensure that the highest standard of food safety issues is adhered to at all times by actors on the food safety value chain.
The guidelines will further provide MMDAs with appropriate templates and standards for the regulation of food safety issues in their respective jurisdictions.
Taking up the honour to launch the document at a ceremony at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) auditorium, Deputy Minister for MLGRD, Hon. Collins Ntim emphasized that it is important to guarantee the wholesomeness of foods for consumers.
“The main objective of developing this National Food Safety Guidelines (NFSG) therefore is to consolidate available but scattered guidelines on food safety into a single policy document with a view of protecting the environment, improving food safety for public health, ensuring access to quality food trade globally and thereby contributing to national development generally”, the Minister said.
Hon. Collins Ntim also expressed his sincerest appreciation to all stakeholders that contributed to putting together the document. Making particular reference to the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana, he urged the government of Canada to provide support for the next steps.
Representing the Ministry for Food and Agriculture, Mr Nortey Tetteh who is the Chief Director of the sector noted that the Ministry is delighted to have made inputs into the document to safeguard the health of consumers.
According to him, it is the hope of the Ministry that focuses on the local food system will boost the confidence in the citizenry to patronize local foods in order to increase farmer trader income which will promote the 'Ghana Beyond Aid' agenda.
Deputy Minister for MLGRD, Hon. Collins Ntim
Giving an address as the chairperson for the launch, CEO of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mrs Delese Mimi Darko backed the guidelines to ensure the highest standards of food safety are maintained by everyone who plays a part in the food value chain.
While commending all stakeholders who played various roles to come out with the document, she noted that she is of the firm belief that the guidelines will result in a healthy lifestyle and healthy life for every Ghanaian.
She furthered assured that the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) will continue to offer technical support to environmental health officers through training to ensure food safety is achieved by all.
“I, therefore, urge all of you here who are responsible for implementing these guidelines to use them fairly to achieve and improve safety in your respective districts”, Mrs Delese Mimi Darko added.
FDA CEO Mrs Delese Mimi Darko
With the Government of Canada providing financial and technical support to the MLGRD, Corey Huntington pledged continuous collaboration with the Ministry and all other stakeholders to strengthen the capacity of local systems towards achieving the aims of the food safety guidelines.
Representing market queens at the launch, President of the Greater Accra Markets Association, Mercy Naa Afrowa Needjan called for training for members to ensure they are enlightened on the completed guidelines.
Meanwhile, other representatives from the Women in Agriculture and Environmental Offices described the launch of the guidelines as a dream come true while charging all stakeholders to ensure it is put to the required use.