Contaminated rice on board Stephanis will not be permitted into Ghana – FDB

The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) said on Thursday that 11,466 metric tonnes (229,938 bags) of Burmese rice on board MV Stephanis, which is currently at the Tema Port, would not be permitted onto the Ghanaian market due to “quality and safety implications”.

In a statement signed by Dr. Stephen K. Opuni, Chief Executive, the FDB said prior to the arrival of the said rice, the Board got information about the unwholesomeness of the said consignment for human consumption and that it had earlier been rejected by two neighbouring West African countries for the same reason.

It said this information was immediately passed on to the National Security.

The statement said upon arrival in Ghana on the December 7, 2009, it was noticed that there was no consignee in Ghana and the Product had not been registered by the FDB.

“The Food and Drugs Board learnt that some sample of rice was allegedly taken from the consignment by an official of the Port Health Authority for testing at the Ghana Standard Board Laboratory.

“The Food and Drugs Board had a  meeting with officials from the Port Health Authority and Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and informed them that there was no way the said rice would be released onto the Ghanaian market since the safety and quality of the said product could not be guaranteed.”

Furthermore, it said, a meeting with CEPS concluded that the ship would be de-listed from its manifest.

“Though the Food and Drugs Board had made its intention clear that the consignment should not be allowed entry into Ghana, information received indicates that the Port Health Authority had fumigated the said consignment.

“In spite of all steps taken by the Food and Drugs Board, National Security and CEPS to prevent the berthing of the ship MV Stephanis and the discharge of the said unwholesome rice consignment, our attention has been drawn to the fact that some officials at the Tema Port (Port Health and some others) took advantage of the Christmas Holidays to allow the ship to come into berth and discharged 15,000 bags of weevil-infested rice into Shed 8 at the Tema Harbour.”

FDB said the offloaded rice had been quarantined by the Board, National Security and CEPS and kept under constant monitoring.

It said all necessary steps were being taken in liaison with the National Security, CEPS and other relevant state agencies to ensure that the said consignment is put back on the ship, MV Stephanis, and re-exported immediately.

Source: GNA

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