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15.03.2009 Health

AMA warns public about unhygienic food

By gna

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has warned the public not to patronize foods which are displayed on the ground and or exposed to flies and dirt.

“We would like to warn the general public to desist from patronizing unhygienic foods from our vendors,” Dr. Simpson A. Boateng, Metropolitan Public Health Officer of the AMA, warned.

Dr Boateng told the GNA at the weekend that food safety was a priority of the AMA and food safety was a fundamental public health concern.

He said these concerns were the result of effects of food-borne diseases like cholera, typhoid fever, pesticide poisoning through beans and vegetables, diarrhoea and food poisoning which further posed risks to health.

Dr Boateng stressed that consumers “bought” diseases which they could not see with their bare eyes and later used their meagre resources for treatment.

Research by the Food Research Institute showed that salads, re-heated soups and sauces, and dishes served with bare hands contained high levels of potentially dangerous enteric bacteria.

He reiterated that the AMA would intensify their education to enlighten the public on hazards associated with unhygienic foods.

Dr Boateng said the problem rested on the attitude of the public, adding that in the course of educating them on food safety they tended to insult the officials.

Mr William Lomo-Tettey, Assistant Chief Environmental Health Officer of the Food Safety Unit of AMA, said every food item which was for consumption mustm at least, be displaced on a table one-and-a-half meters from above the ground.

Mr Lomo-Tettey said the emerging food safety concerns called for effective collaboration with the Traditional Caterers Association, Food and Drugs Board, Ghana Standards Board, the Food Research Institute to train the sellers as well as market queens and educate the public on food safety.

He said the AMA would use public announcement systems, drama and the electronic media to educate the public on behavioural change.

Mr Lomo-Tettey urged food vendors to comply with this regulation of the AMA but if they proved adamant, they would be prosecuted.

He advised the public to refrain from patronizing foods that were displaced on the ground to discourage the sellers and report those who were not complying with the regulation.

He said the AMA would sanction officers who oversaw markets which had been assigned to them and vendors had not changed their bad attitudes and practices.