The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has hinted of the strict enforcement of the requirement of registration prior to the importation of products with effect from February 1, 2021.
The Authority said despite the requirement of registration ahead of importation, over 20 per cent of imports regulated by the FDA arrived at the ports unregistered, hence the need to strictly enforce such regulation.
According to the FDA, measures had been put in place to facilitate registration of regulated products, including the reduction of registration fees to about 10 to 20 per cent of the previous fees with a risk-based approach to expedite such registration.
Mr Emmanuel Yaw Kwarteng, Head of Division, Import and Export of the FDA, Speaking in a presentation at a stakeholder engagement in Tema on Wednesday, informed that, "effective February 1, 2020 unregistered imported food, cosmetics and household chemicals will be sampled at the port and tested before clearance."
The stakeholders' meeting, amongst other objectives, afforded the Authority the opportunity to extensively discuss importation regulations and the Authority's decision to strictly implement such measures.
He said such importers would also be required to initiate the registration process before the consignment was cleared from the port, adding that importers would further be required to pay the appropriate administrative charges or penalties for importing unregistered products.
Mr Kwarteng noted that testing took time to undertake and making products available for such purposes, was appropriate in meeting timelines and said "products undergoing renewal of registration with no variations could be detailed at consignee's warehouse."
As a result of risk associated with such products and the need to ensure public health and safety, he explained that the Public Health Act – Act 851 of 2012 required all products regulated by the FDA to be registered prior to importation into the country.
He indicated that registration afforded the Authority the opportunity to evaluate the products and further ensured that they were safe, of good quality and efficacious before they were given market authorization or allowed unto the market.
In keeping track of such products and to facilitate traceability, he intimated that the Authority had decided to keep a database of all FDA regulated personal effects that were brought into the country and importers were expected to submit a comprehensive list of personal effects with accompanying batch codes and date marks.
Mr Roderick Daddey-Adjei, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Food Division of the FDA, who spoke on behalf of the CEO, Mrs Delese Mimi Darko, said, but for Covid-19 and its attendant ramifications, the Authority had previously planned to strictly enforce the prohibition of importation of unregistered products in March 2020.
He expressed worry about a trend where the importation of relatively small quantities of European and American brands under the guise of personal effects, subsequently found their way in supermarkets across the country.
In light of this, and other unlawful conducts, "the Authority would not countenance such recalcitrant importers who continue to flout the law."
Mrs Akua Owusua Amartey, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in Charge of Technical Operations, who chaired the session, in her concluding remarks, noted that the Authority's works were ultimately aimed at protecting the health and safety of consumers and further called for such collaborative engagements in future.