The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) is strengthening its food safety enforcement exercise for food vendors who do not comply with the laws and standards of food safety to face the full rigorous of the law.
Punishment for offenders would either be imprisonment or a fine.
Ms. Maria Aba Lovelace-Johnson, the Head of the Food Safety Management Department, FDA said this at a training programme organised by the FDA for Environmental Health Officers of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.
She said the FDA had embarked on educational programmes and exercises from 2012 to 2016 and its time for enforcement.
“From the situational analysis done prior to 2012, we concluded that food vendors had very little knowledge on food safety so from 2012-2016 we embarked on education programme to enlighten them” she said.
She emphasized that salad must be sold cold so food vendors must put salad on ice or be refrigerated; meat and fish must be sold cold or iced.Ms Lovelace-Johnson said: “Salad has to be sold cold and we will be enforcing that law.
It must be kept below four degree Celsius and foods must be kept at 63 degree Celsius or above.”“Because no one carries thermometer around consumers should be able to feel the coldness in the salad and the food must be piping hot so that they will be able to see the steam coming out before they buy it.”
She also disproved certain myths Ghanaians have about food safety and storage and stated that fresh meat must be bought frozen just as fish is sold frozen to prevent microbial growth.
“Ghanaians believe that meat must be displayed unfrozen to prove that it is fresh. They also believe that food cooked must be allowed to cool down before stored in a refrigerator, all these are false and make room for microbial growth”, she said.
She said pathogenic food organisms were mesophilic and they grow best in moderate temperature, neither too hot nor too cold, typically between 20 degree Celsius and 45 degree Celsius.
She therefore added that the food safety department of the FDA will be collaborating with the Municipal Metropolitan and District Assemblies in order to be able to ensure the effective regulation of street vendors.
Ms Lovelace-Johnson urged everybody to collaborate because food safety is from plough to plate, “when it gets to the plate then it is about the consumer hence requires a collective effort to ensure safety.”