THE FDA AND FAO HOLD FOOD SAFETY AWARENESS WORKSHOP FOR STREET VENDORS IN ACCRA
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations have organized a food safety awareness workshop for street food vendors at the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church Hall at Osu in Accra on Wednesday, 2nd October, 2019.
The workshop was to train and enlighten street food vendors on how to purchase wholesome raw materials, maintain personal hygiene, how to properly prepare food and the storage processes in order to prevent food contamination and promote food safety .
Mrs. Jocelyn Adeline Egyakwa Amusah, the Head of Food Safety Management at the FDA was of the view that the sensitization project will be leveraging on a scratch-card system to generate revenues to support food vendors who in the long-term will need some form of financial assistance.
Speaking at the workshop she emphasized that, as the project progresses, there will be enough funds to improve social infrastructure and resources such as, clean water sources in the street, create mechanisms for supplying inexpensive fruit and vegetables all year round, and to improve waste disposal services and provide microloans.
Mr. Edward Archer from the Food Safety Management Department (FSMD) at the FDA in his presentation said, keeping food produce in good conditions can help prevent food contamination and its associated diseases such as cancer and neurological disorders. He therefore advised the participants to properly preserve food in fridges, coolers and on fire to prevent them from contamination
He took the opportunity to urge the food vendors to desist from purchasing unwholesome food vegetables such as rotten tomatoes, carrots and cabbages since these rotten vegetables contain some microorganisms responsible for producing toxins that cannot be destroyed during the cooking process.
Mrs. Gloria Asum-Kwarteng’s (Food Industrial Service Support) presentation focused on the preparation, food preservation area as well as the utensils and equipment for cooking food. She explained that in ensuring that every food is safe for consumption, the location, structure and orderly arrangements of utensils help reduce the spread of germs and eventually, food contamination. She advised the participants to frequently replace utensils and other equipments used in food preparation.
With regards to location, she encouraged the food vendors to desist from selling in and around dirty and unhygienic places since such places attract flies and other bacteria that may contaminate the food. She also said, selling beside chocked gutters and public toilets may attract flies and cockroaches which may lead to the spread of cholera and other diseases.
She however expressed worry over coated machines and equipment used in food preparation. According to her, these coated machines and equipments contain copper which poses serious health problems to consumers. She further encouraged them to properly dispose of waste materials frequently to avoid attracting pests such as cockroaches, wall geckos and others associated with food.
The exercise forms part of the FDA’s efforts to educate and sensitize street food vendors in the Metropolis to safeguard public health and safety. The FDA believes that, food safety activities is not a project but must be a lifestyle and our collective responsibility.