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26.08.2004 Business & Finance

Ensure good warehouse practices - Food companies urged

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Accra, Aug. 26, GNA - The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) on Wednesday charged manufacturers and importers of food products to ensure good warehouse practices to maintain the quality of their products. Mr Richard Osei Amponsah, a Regulatory Officer on the FDB, said this on Wednesday when he led participants at a two-day workshop on good warehouse practices as part of the training to visit the Koala Shopping Centre warehouse in Accra.

The workshop, which has participants from 29 food companies and manufacturers was to enable them to learn how to avoid losses and contamination, maintain right conditions for storage as well as record keeping and documentation.

Mr Amponsah said the FDB chose Koala Warehouse as an example of a good warehouse due to its improved and advanced storage facilities over the period and by cooperating with the FDB.

He said it had become a model for others in the industry to emulate especially in terms of maintaining the right conditions until the products got to the final consumer.

Mrs Faustina Atopra, Coordinator of the Workshop, said over the years during inspection by the board, most food companies were found wanting and admitted that ignorance of good warehouse practices such as keeping products under the right temperatures and ventilation among other things.

She said the workshop was necessary to bridge the gap of lack of information in the industry to enable FDB to take to task companies, which did not abide by the proper procedure in storage and disposal of food in the industry.

Mr Fawaz Zowk, Director at the Koala Warehouse, who briefed the participants, noted that it was in the interest of food companies to protect consumers to continue to be in business. " When you fail to do this your sales would go down and people would be out of job."

Mr Zowk advised food companies not to rely on expiry dates alone to determine wholesomeness of a product but take into consideration the peculiar weather patterns in Ghana as well.

He said it was best for importers of food products to ensure that they complied with manufacturer's storage instructions to maintain the quality of the products.

He asked food companies to use information technology to collect data on the products and expiry dates so that they could punch at the bottom, which products should be sent to the market immediately and the ones that could wait to minimise losses.