Milk is a good source of protein and calcium. In Ghana, milk is used in the preparation of many forms of beverages (tea and chocolate drinks), cereals (tom brown), snacks (candies and yoghurt) and millet drinks commonly known as 'Brukina'. The most popular forms of milk on the Ghanaian market are powdered, evaporated, sweetened/unsweetened condensed and fresh milk (sourced from small-scale holder dairy farms).
In terms of risk profiling of foods, milk is considered a high-risk product which gets easily contaminated from germs due to unsafe handling. This can lead to a sudden change in taste, smell, texture, and other characteristics which will diminish the quality of the milk and result in severe food-borne illnesses with threats of deaths.
To reduce such risks and ensure public health and safety, the Ashanti Regional Office of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has conducted a three-day one-on-one training for sellers and producers of a common milk-based millet drink popularly called 'Brukina' at Aboabo Number 2 and neighboring communities, within the Kumasi Metropolis.
As part of the training, participants were taken through basic Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) which included the safe and effective handling of the raw materials (fresh milk, millet, and water). To avoid contamination, it was reiterated that only potable and clean containers can be used in the processing of these milk products. Other quality parameters such as good food processing and sterilization of utensils for production as well as hygienic practices within the production storage and transportation were also thoroughly discussed.
To legalize their trade and provide the needed assurance to consumers of the milk-based millet drink 'Brukina', the participants were encouraged to work closely with their Local Government to acquire valid Food Handlers Certificates, a requirement for the FDA product certification. It was stressed that selling processed food products without this certificate constitutes a major breach to the provisions of the Public Health Act, 2012 (Act 851).
Additionally, producers of the 'Brukina' millet drink were also introduced to the Progressive Licensing Scheme, one of the flag-ship programmes of the FDA, which provides a certification mechanism with three licensing stages categorized as Pink, Yellow and Green, aimed at supporting the cottage industry in Ghana to meet the required standards.
Furthermore, they were encouraged to take advantage of this scheme and get their facilities licensed and products properly registered, as this would in turn boost their business and allow them to supply their products to supermarkets and other A-rated malls in the country and gain the necessary traction for exports.
The FDA exist to ensure the safety, quality and efficacy of human and veterinary drugs, food, biological products, cosmetics, medical devices, household chemical substances and clinical trials, and the control of tobacco products through the enforcement of relevant standards to protect public health.