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Mayor of Accra educates food vendors on food safety

By Vincent Ashitey
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The Mayor of Accra, Hon. Elizabeth Kwatsoe Sackey has paid a working visit to some parts of the metropolis to engage food vendors on issues of food safety.

The visit forms part of continuing efforts by the AMA to intensify monitoring of the activities of food vendors in the metropolis and enforce the 2017 food safety and hygiene byelaws of the Assembly.

In an interaction with the food vendors, Mayor Sackey said foodborne diseases caused by the consumption of unsafe foods were responsible for the deaths of thousands of people each year adding that food safety was a shared responsibility between all stakeholders including food vendors.

She noted that due to the high cost of unsafe food, vendors were mandated by the Assembly’s 2017 Food Safety and Hygiene byelaws to handle all food to avoid contamination from biological, chemical, and physical contaminants, flies, dirt among others adding that "a person who sells food shall ensure that the preparation and the venturing area is not situated close to an open drain or sanitary site and is clean at all times."

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She informed the food vendors that they were expected to use protective gear, ensure that the food was prepared with wholesome ingredients and potable water, pay close attention to expiry dates, use fresh and safe raw materials, as well as keep drains and working environment clean.

She also used the opportunity to encourage the food vendors to acquire the Food Handler's Certification and admonished them to desist from exposing food items to the direct rays of the sun in order to maintain their quality.

"Exposing food items to the direct rays from the sun can damage the food in a number of ways, from accelerating spoilage to causing chemical changes and these could affect the taste, texture, and nutrition of the food, making it unsafe for consumption," she said.

The Mayor also called on hotels, motels, pubs, guest houses, restaurants, chop bars, or food joints, to obtain their Suitability Health Certificate issued by the Assembly before commencing operations.