Dr Stephen Opuni, Chief Executive Officer of Food and Drugs Board, (FBD) on Tuesday said it is unfortunate Ghana is still struggling with product quality, expertise and knowledge in current food safety management systems.
Like other developing countries, it also lacks information regarding product certification to international standards.
Speaking at the closing session of a training programme, organised by the FDB for 25 selected Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the food industry nationwide, in Accra, Dr Opuni noted that it is for this reason that governments worldwide are promoting policies and strategies that seek to address the challenges facing SMEs to enhance their competitiveness.
He observed: “While some developed economies have instituted comprehensive food safety and quality systems to ensure safe food; developing countries like Ghana are battling with poor pre and post harvest handling practices.”
The training comes at a time when high competitiveness in the local and international market is making it difficult for processed food products that are below standards to access into these markets.
He said in line with its mandate to protect public health and safety among others, the FDB collaborated with the Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDs) to train SMEs on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMPs), Quality Management System (QMS) and the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles.
Dr Opuni said seven categories were selected made up of: Powdered Cocoa Beverage, Confectionary, Fruit Juice, Packaged Water, Nuts and Seeds, Non Alcoholic Drinks and Cereal products.
In addition, the selected companies would be provided with technical assistance to implement GMP and QMS Action plans, he said, and added that the FDB would conduct post implementation audits to assess the functionality of the systems to ensure sustainability.
Dr Opuni urged the participating enterprises to take advantage of the opportunity being offered by the Government and FDB to improve on their knowledge and skills in implementing and maintaining a functional food safety management system to enhance not only competitiveness on the market but also assure consumer safety.