Food and nutrition expert, Professor Anna Lartey, has called for the prioritization of food safety in the global food system transformation agenda.
According to Prof. Lartey, now is the best time to discuss and find lasting solutions to food safety issues which has plagued many countries especially those in Africa.
She said there are huge benefits to be derived from ensuring the food people consume are safe adding that a safe and healthy diet promotes disease prevention and saves huge amount of money from health costs.
Professor Lartey was the keynote speaker that the 3rd World Food Safety Day commemoration in Accra on the theme,"Safe Food Noe For A Healthy Tomorrow."
She indicated that there have been engagements, including the UN food system summit, to alter the food system to be healthier, safer, more sustainable, efficient and more equitable.
"The UN secretary general has called for a food summit to be attended by leaders in Africa. I hope that our African leaders who would go there will put food safety issues at the center of the food system transformation," she said.
Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority, (FDA) Delese Mimi Darko, said the theme supports the idea that production and consumption of safe food has immediate-to-long term benefits for everyone.
Mrs. Darko said the FDA has made food safety issues a prime agenda for government by undertaking some activities that ensure the food consumed by the public is safe and healthy.
"These efforts include public education in schools, markets, training workshop for food manufacturers, food service establishment operators and street food vendors, facility inspectors, food handlers and the introduction of and Progressive License Scheme (PLS) to bring micro, small and medium scale food manufacturers into compliance," she added.
Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, said unsafe food continues to pose a threat to the health of people adding that stronger collaboration in the implementation of food safety measures can ensure that one in every 10 people in the world do not fall ill as a result of food borne disease.
"This could probably safe up to $95 million annually in low- and middle-income country like Ghana," he said.
The World Health Organization country representative, Dr. Francis Kasolo said although everyone is susceptible to food borne diseases, the most vulnerable are infants, young children, pregnant women, older persons and individuals with a weakened immune system.
He therefore urged the government to ensure safe and nutritious food for all.
"We all have a responsibility towards ensuring safe food along all aspects of the supply chain. We should for example ensure that all food is prepared with clean water devoid of any contamination from microorganisms and harmful chemicals," he added.
The FDA exists to protect public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, food, biological products, cosmetics, medical devices, household chemical substances, tobacco and the conduct of clinical trials in the country.