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09.10.2008 Business & Finance

FDB cautions cold store operators…for improper handling of frozen foods

By Helena Selby - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) Mr. E.K Agyarko, has stated that the board does not take pride in destroying products, neither are they out to collapse businesses.

Speaking in an address at a workshop on 'Good Storage Practice' in Accra, he noted that the real impact of this training programme should result in a reduction in food-borne diseases, associated with poor handling of animal products.

According to him, the board is purposed to support operators and to ensure that they maximize profits through good cold storage practices while ensuring public health and safety.

He recalled that recently, several thousands of cartons of unwholesome animal products were destroyed in Tema due to improper cold storage temperature regime, which rendered the products unwholesome.

Between January 2008 and now, about 15,000 cartons of imported unwholesome products have been destroyed at Tema alone, and as a result there has been a loss of about GH¢4,500,000 worth of revenue, he added.

He mentioned that the workshop training programme follow similar ones organized in March and July this year for operators in the Tema metropolis which was aimed at equipping them with the requisite knowledge on the implementation of the Good Cold Storage Practices.

According to him, the success of the previous programme has given the board enough motivation to maintain the campaign throughout the nation. Mr. Agyarko pointed out that animal products such as meat, poultry and fish are highly perishable and as such should be properly handled to safeguard the quality, safety and acceptability of products, in addition to the health of the consumers and handlers.

He indicated that the need for safe animal product has become very important in view of the numerous food-borne illnesses. This, he said is associated with poor meat/fish handling practice coupled with the fact that poverty and ignorance have made many consumers less discriminatory in their choice of when and where to buy what.

Dr. Mohammed Alfa noted that on an inspection of 150 cold storage facilities in Accra-Tema metropolis, it was realised that majority of the dealers in animal source product are practicing the reverse of the Good Cold Storage Practice system. He stressed that many were unfortunately operating under unacceptable conditions.