OVERVIEW OF THE FOOD INSPECTORATE DIVISION
The constitution of Ghana provides the Ghanaian the right to health and safety. This right is protected through the regulatory work of state institutions such as the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).
Part Seven of the Public Health Act, 2012, Act 851 mandates the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to protect the Ghanaian public through the regulation of food, drugs, household chemical substances, cosmetics and medical devices.
Unsafe food at best will be unpleasant but in the worst case, it could lead to hospitalization or death.
The loss of human capital and productivity through the consumption of unsafe food is therefore a critical regulatory issue.
The Food Safety Division (FSD) executes the Food and Drugs Authority's (FDA) mandate to protect public health and safety through the regulation of the food service industry, the control of meat production as well as assuring the safety of genetically modified organisms for food, feed and processing. It also provides technical support to the food industry to promote the production of safe and quality food through the application of contemporary food safety management systems.
The FSD therefore comprises of the Animal Products and Biosafety Department (APBD), the Food Safety Management Department (FSMD) and the Food Industrial Support Services Department (FISSD).
FOOD ENFORCEMENT DEPARTMENT
The Food Enforcement Department (FED) is mandated to undertake inspection of food or systems for control of food manufacture, storage, retail and disposal in order to verify compliance to current codes of Good Manufacturing Practices.
The FED has three operational units which are the Food Post Market Surveillance (FPMSU), Food Premises Inspections (FPIU) and Industrial Support Services (ISSU) Units.
Food Post Market Surveillance Unit (FPMSU)
The activities of the FMPSU are post production oriented.It is mandated to monitor the safety and quality of pre-packaged foods in storage and trade and ensure food products are advertised in accordance with FDA Guidelines for Advertisement of Food Products.
The FPMSU has the underlisted functions:
- Inspection of dry food storage facilities (Food warehouses) to ensure compliance to Good Warehouse Practices (GWP).
- Licensing of dry food storage facilities complaint with GWP
- Inspection of retail outlets and open markets visits to ensure compliance to Good Retail Practices (GRP).
- Monitor, regulate, vet and approve advertisements on food products.
- Supervision of safe disposal of unwholesome/damaged food products.
- Investigation of consumer complaints and related issues.
- Monitor the safety of food products in trade.
- Processing of import applications from GCNET
Food Premises Inspections Unit
The Unit conducts inspection of food processing facilities to assess compliance to current codes of Good Manufacturing Practices, Good Hygiene Practices and other Food Safety Management Systems for the production of safe and quality finished products. That is it ensures that minimum requirements of food safety measures are met by food manufactures to protect public health and safety.
The functions of FPIU include the following:
- Inspection of food manufacturing premises to ensure compliance with the current codes of Good Manufacturing Practices.
- Licensing of food manufacturing facilities that are complaint with cGMP
- Coordination of Site verification activities (i.e. inspection of external food manufacturing premises to ensure safety of imported pre-packaged food products)
Industrial Support Services Unit
The Unit provides technical support to industry through training and implementation of safety and quality management systems. It is also the focal point of the National Food Fortification Alliance (NFFA). It is also responsible for the regulation of the export of palm oil and Universal Salt Iodation Programme.
The functions of the Unit include the following:
- Food industry audits and needs assessment
- Sampling and screening of all palm oil samples intended for export.Universal salt iodation program
- National Food Fortification Alliance Program
- Management of food alerts
- GMP/HACCP training for the food industry
- Inspection of pack houses
- Installation of Food Safety Management Systems in the food industry
The department has varying expertise that facilitates its activities. These include food scientists, biochemists, food technologists, chemical engineers, chemists, nutritionists and biological scientists etc.
FOOD EVALUATION AND REGISTRATION DEPARTMENT
The Food Evaluation and Registration Department (FERD) is responsible for the evaluation of applications for locally manufactured and imported food products and their subsequent registration and listing.
The functions of FERD include the following:
Operation of a client/customer service which includes:
- Inform enquirers on requirements for the registration of food products
- Respond to client enquires on status of registration applications
- Review of registration applications for final submission
- Receipt of food samples for evaluation
- Data entry into product functionality database
- Evaluation of food product labels to ensure compliance with the General Labelling Rules (LI 1541)
- Evaluation of Certificate of Analysis accompanying food products to be registered to assess their safety and quality.
- Holding/organisation of bi-monthly Food Registration meetings
- Communicating feedback from registration meetings to clients
- Correspondence of import permits for food product release or detention at the points of entry into the country.
The department has varying expertise that facilitates its activities. These include food scientists, biochemists, food technologists, biomedical scientists, and biological scientists.