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Caterers cautioned against using children to serve food under School Feeding Programme

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Caterers operating under the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP), were on Friday, cautioned against the use of pupils to dish out food to their mates.

Mr Seth Offei, Greater-Accra Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for the GSFP said using school children to dish out food prepared by Caterers was against the code of the programme.

Mr Offei gave the warning during a day’s Health Safety and Hygiene Seminar in Tema, for 76 Caterers of 38 feeding outlets, under the GSFP, from the Tema Metropolis, Ashaiman and Ledzekuku-Krowor Municipalities and the Dangbe East District.

He explained that the code of the programme stated categorically that school children were not to dish out their food or even wash their plates, under the programme.

He said the only responsibility of the pupils was to eat the prepared food at the scheduled time.

He was responding to concerns raised by the participants on instructions from teachers and head teachers of some beneficiary schools of the programme, to allow the pupils to serve themselves.

Some of the participants revealed that teachers of some of the schools instructed the Caterers to present the food to the class, while teachers and head teachers nominated one of the pupils to serve their mates.

They also stated that due to lack of funds, pupils were expected to bring their own bowls from home, instead of the Caterers providing them.

They added that, some of the beneficiary pupils sometimes used black polythene bags to collect their food.

The Caterers, therefore, appealed to the various Assemblies and the GSFP to properly fund the programme, to help prevent contamination of food served to the children.

Participants also called for the provision of kitchens at the schools, since some of the caterers cook at home and transport it to the schools.

Miss Maria Aba Lovelace-Johnson, Food and Drugs Board’s (FDB), Head of Food and Safety Management Department, said her outfit collaborated with the GSFP to train the Caterers in food safety and hygiene.

Miss Lovelace-Johnson said the training would be followed by inspections of the Caterers’ kitchens and places of serving, after which food hygiene permits would be issued to them by the FDB.

The permit, she explained, would be renewed annually, and failure to do so may lead to the abrogation of that particular Caterer’s contract.

She said, in all, a total of 356 people, comprising the principal and one Caterer each from the 178 school feeding outlets in the Greater-Accra Region were to receive the training.

She added that the training started on Tuesday, April 26 with 156 Caterers from 78 outlets of the Accra Metropolis, followed by 92 others from 46 outlets operating in the Ga South, Ga West, Ga East and Dangbe West Districts, as well as the Adenta Municipality.

She urged the Caterers to observe basic food safety tit-bits, which included keeping themselves, their kitchens and utensils clean, separating raw food from cooked ones and to avoid cross-contamination.

Other tit-bits, she said, were keeping food at safe temperature, using of spoilt ingredients to cook, cooking thoroughly and re-heating thoroughly, in addition to the use of safe portable water, which comprised of pipe borne water, boreholes and boiled water from streams and rivers.
Source: GNA

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