Ghana Food and Drugs Board destroys seized imitated products
The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) on Thursday destroyed quantities of ceased food items from the Accra central markets, they described as harmful and dangerous to human health when consumed.
The items, which were crushed by a bulldozer truck at the Mallam landfill site, included several cartons of Star Kist Tuna flakes, SMA Baby Formula, Maggi cubes, Baked Beans, gallons of unlabeled fruit juices, Henekins Schnapps, and sachets of water.
Other expired products such as cooking oil, non-iodated salt, biscuits, candies that have been ceased were also destroyed.
Briefing the media in Accra, Mr Kofi Essel, Acting Head of the Inspectorate Department of FDB, said it was the mandate of the Board to ensure the safety of the citizens and to ensure that food products and drugs consumed were wholesome and met the required standards.
He explained that reports from the Board’s Surveillance Department showed that manufacturers, importers and suppliers have moved from counterfeit drugs to food, and that most of the products came from neighbouring Togo.
These imitated products sell cheaper than the original products and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the original and the faked products.
Mr Essel noted that various laboratory tests conducted on the ceased products, however, revealed that there was a sharp difference between the original and the imitated ones.
Citing the Schnapps as an example, Mr Essel said the original schnapps was made from grains whilst the imitated one was found to contain Benzine compound from a petroleum product, which was cancerous.
Asked how people will differentiate between the fake and original, Mr Essel explained that the original products had the coding on the top of the lid whilst the fake ones had the coding at the base.
Mr Essel advised the general public to look out for differences in products and to avoid buying cheap products or else “you will be buying sickness and putting your health at a greater risk”.
In another development, the FDB has warned operators of herbal clinics to endeavour to register the herbal products they administer to their patients with the Board or face the consequences.
A tour to two herbal clinics in Tema revealed that some of those facilities were not adhering to the directives by the Board.
At the Ahoto Herbal Clinic at Community 7, out of the 15 herbal products, only three were registered with the Board.
Mr Samuel Asante Boateng, Senior Regulatory Officer of the Board, said the non-registration of the herbal products made it extremely difficult for the Board to guarantee the safety of the people.
He noted that herbal medicines have been in use for ages, but that there was the need now to conduct extra tests to ascertain their safety as they are being bottled.
At the Adom Herbal Clinic, out of the 12 products being dispensed at the clinic, five were registered with the Board whilst the others have just passed through the safety reports from the Department of Pharmacology of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and were awaiting registration by the Board.
Mr Boateng urged practitioners to explore the possibility of using other research institutions like Noguchi and KNUST if the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine at Mampong was delaying the process.
He accepted the fact that it was a long process and sometimes took a year for one herbal product to be investigated, not forgetting the high cost involved, but “there are other research institutions that could do the same work and should be explored”.
Dr Simon Golo Kuma, Managing Director of Ahoto, and Madam Abena Serwaa Owusu, owner of Adom herbal clinic, pleaded with the FDB to give them some time to have their products registered, since it involved a lot of money.