The volumes of vegetable items imported into Ghana from Europe in the first quarter of 2011 is 152,047.81 gross mass, which amounts to GH¢1,170,958.50. But the country is not in danger yet of the E. Coli outbreak in Europe.
The amount includes Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) or the Virulence factor which is a sales contract term indicating that price includes cost, insurance and freight.
According to a Ghana News Agency publication on June 6, 2011, a statement from the Ministry of Trade citing information provided by the Ghana Community Network Services Limited, operators of the electronic system for processing trade and customs documents in Ghana, indicates that out of the number, only 199.43 gross mass amounting to GH¢1,313.99 was imported from Germany, the country most affected by the E. coli.
The major importers of these vegetables are Shoprite, Kwatsons Ghana Limited, Damond Limited and Soffish Ventures Limited, the publication said.
The rest are Adwoa Ampim Yankey, Ama Ampim, Wiomex Limited and BFGM Company Limited.
The statement from the Trade Ministry comes after several reports that there has been an outbreak of the E. coli bacteria in Germany spreading across Europe which according to reports has killed at least 22 people.
Escherichia coli commonly known as E. coli, is a gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms. Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some stereotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls.
Even though officially, the source of the outbreak is not yet known, agric experts believe that the outbreak could have come from the process of sprouting which is the practice of germinating seeds to be eaten either raw or cooked in Germany. Sprouting is a convenient way to have fresh vegetables for salads, or otherwise, in any season and can be germinated at home or produced industrially.
Meanwhile the CNN reports that top European farming officials are meeting to deal with the E. coli bacteria outbreak.
The European Parliament lawmakers are demanding to know what the European Commission planned to do about the crisis Tuesday morning ahead of a meeting of European Union agriculture ministers, it said.
Ghana’s Trade Ministry and the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) say they are closely monitoring the situation and any development that was deemed significant would be communicated to the general public.
A statement issued in Accra yesterday says there was no immediate risk to the health of Ghanaians even though the country imports vegetables from countries that shared borders with Germany. The countries are the Netherlands, Great Britain, Belgium, France, Denmark, Germany and Italy.
According to the Ministry, the International Food Safety Authority Network, an agency of the World Health Organisation (WHO) which operates information sharing of food safety alert system, has no indication that Ghana has received such alert with respect to the E. coli.
By Ekow Quandzie