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12.03.2006 Regional News

Prosecute food and drugs offenders - DCE


Agona Swedru, March 12, GNA - Mr Ben Mensah, District Chief Executive (DCE) for Agona, has called for the strict enforcement of the country's Food and Drugs law and the prosecution of offenders to ensure consumer safety and protection.

He described the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) as "barking" since its establishment but could not "bite" individuals and companies who flouted the food and drugs law. The DCE was speaking at a workshop organised by the Board for Environmental Health Officers from the Awutu-Effutu-Senya, Gomoa and Agona Districts of the Central Region at Swedru. It was aimed at sensitising the officers charged with the enforcement and compliance of the law by ensuring safe food and drugs for consumers.

The DCE noted that the rampant outbreak of cholera and other communicable diseases were due to negligence on the part of the officers and the Board who are mandated to arrest and prosecute offenders. Mr Mensah urged the Board to be more proactive to curb food and drugs related cases, which were detrimental to human health. The DCE pointed out that the country expected more from the FDB in the areas of safety and protection, adding that the performance had been dismal and stressed the need for more effective measures since it had legal backing.

Mr George Paintsil, Western and Central Regional Director of the FDB, said PNDC law (305 B) enjoined environmental health officers, district, municipal and metropolitan Assemblies to ensure that product information and advertisements were not misleading. They should also not be deceptive with references to diseases that should not be advertised.

He said Environmental Health Officers and the Assemblies were to ensure that all local manufacturers of food products were licensed and that their operations conformed to codes of good manufacturing practices.

Mr Paintsil stated that they should ensure that food and drugs products both locally manufactured and imported and for export were registered to assure their safety, quality and efficacy. He warned that the FDB would soon start prosecuting radio stations that broadcast illegal advertisements of drugs, which had not properly gone through the documentation.

Mr Paintsil said that the Board had started recording illegal drug advertisements from the radio stations and would initiate moves to enforce the law to ensure the safety of consumers. He called for strategic and collaborative strengthening of regulatory institutions to ensure safe and quality production, processing, sale, distribution and use of food, drugs, cosmetics and household chemicals.

The FDB would brainstorm on how best it could forge links to protect the health of consumers, Mr Paintsil stated.