This year’s edition of 'One-consumer, One-officer' campaign by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has taken place in Techiman, the Bono East regional capital.
The staff of the Bono regional office of the FDA spread themselves among various traders and buyers at the Techiman central market to create more awareness of food safety, especially as Christmas is fast approaching.
Madam Akua Amponsaa Owusu, the Regional Head of the FDA, explained that the 'One consumer, one officer' campaign is an annual exercise usually undertaken getting to the end of each year where FDA staff have a one-on-one encounter with the public to explain issues concerning food safety.
Food safety, she further explained, refers to the practices that are observed during handling, processing and distribution of food to ensure that contaminants that can cause food borne diseases are not present.
She said food safety is an important aspect of food production and handling as it ensures that the health and safety of the consumers are protected from all food related issues.
Quoting World Health Organization’s report on Food Safety 2022, Madam Amponsaa Owusu said every year nearly 600 million people fall sick and 420,000 die globally because they consume food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins, or chemicals.
“An estimated three million (3,000,000) people around the world in developed and developing countries die every year from food and waterborne disease. Food is the starting point for our energy, our health, and our well-being. We often take food for granted that it is safe, but in an increasingly complex and interconnected world where food value chains are growing longer, standards and regulations are much more important in keeping us safe. Any food safety incident has global negative effects on public health, trade, and the economy”, she added.
The Regional FDA boss said when food is not safe, “health is negatively affected resulting in children not able to learn and adults’ not able to work and human development cannot take place. Safe food is critical to promoting health and ending hunger. Let us remember, therefore, that there can never be food security without food safety.”
She assured the public that her outfit will work around the clock to protect the safety of consumers, especially as Christmas id just around the corner, adding that however that “we cannot do it alone. We would need the support of all stakeholders and the public. Food safety is a shared responsibility between governments, producers, and consumers. Everybody has a role to play, from farm to the table to ensure the food we consume is safe and will not cause damage to our health.”
The Food and Drugs Authority is an agency under the Ministry of Health mandated by the Public Health Act, 2012, Act 851 to provide and enforce standards for the sale of food, herbal medicinal products, cosmetics, drugs, medical devices, household chemical substances and regulation of blood and blood products in the country.
As part of its responsibilities, the Authority periodically conducts public education exercises to educate and sensitize the public on food safety and the use of tobacco and tobacco products in the country.