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18.03.2004 General News

Meat used by hotels are not inspected - MOFA

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Accra March 18, GNA- Dr Osei Agyeman Bonsu, Greater Accra Regional Public Health Officer of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) says more than 50 per cent of animals used by hotels and caterers are not inspected before they are slaughtered. Speaking at a day's workshop for meat shops and restaurant operators in the Region in Accra, Dr Bonsu described the situation as terrible and alarming.

He said to ensure that wholesome meat was sold to the public; MOFA in collaboration with meat shop owners and restaurant operators was working on a proposal to design stickers to indicate to consumers where they could get wholesome meat to buy.

He said the proposal if implemented, would assist the consumer to decide whether to buy from a particular meat seller or not. "Sellers would also be compelled to buy or slaughter animals at approved slaughterhouses and to sell meat under good environmental conditions," he said.

Dr Bonus said over 90 per cent of meat sold to the public was not handled properly and over 80 per cent of meat shop operators and restaurant operators did not know the source of their meat.

He told the participants that the source of meat should be of paramount interest to them adding: "It is criminal to deceive the public on unwholesome meat. The consumer must know the source of the meat." He said meat shop operators and caterers played important roles in promoting tourism in the country and urged them to be careful in handling meat used in preparing food for the public.

The Regional Public Health Officer said some slaughtering places were terrible and called on the public to assist MOFA to flush out butchers, who did not use hygienic slaughterhouses.

Dr Bonsu said a substantial number of people suffer from food poisoning after eating from restaurants and hotels noting that such cases were not reported.

He reminded the participants that some diseases that affected animals could be easily transferred to human being and advised them to go to the right places for their meat.

Dr Bonsu said one of the challenges facing MOFA was the number of illiterate butchers who did not care about hygiene, he, therefore, called on all to assist in educating them on the need for them to adopt hygienic practices.

He condemned the practice by some butchers who smear blood on meat with the intention of colouring them, saying such practice deteriorate the state and taste of the meat.

He urged Purchasing Officers to put the good health of the public before the collection of 10 per cent of the meat as bribe. Mrs Dinah Ayirebi, Greater Accra Regional Director, MOFA, noted that slaughtering of meat in the capital left much to be desired and called on all to ensure that only wholesome meat was consumed. She said food safety had become of greatest concern to all and people were prepared pay good price for wholesome meat.

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