FDA and stakeholders working to assist food vendors 

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) is working with two institutions to ensure the safety of food purchased from street vendors and also empower them economically.

The University of Ghana (UG) and the International Federation of Women Lawyers in Ghana (FIDA-Ghana) are collaborating with the FDA on the project titled: “Public Education and Economic Empowerment of Street Food Vendors through Regulation”.

Speaking at an inception workshop, Mrs Delese A. A. Darko, the Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, said the project is aimed at educating, economically empowering and establishing a food safety protocol.

She said the food safety protocol would assist in regulating street food vendors in tertiary institutions such that consumers would be safe with the street food they consume.

She said UG has been chosen for the pilot after which it would be introduced into all other tertiary institutions dotted across the country.

Mrs Darko said, the project has been necessitated by the absence of a formalized permit/licensing system for street food vending, which has resulted in the non-observance of regulatory and other statutory provisions.

She said “a study on the microbial quality of street foods in Accra, found evidence of high levels of microbial contamination in some of the food sampled“.

However, in Ghana, reports indicate that almost 40 per cent of the total food budget of low-income households and two per cent of high-income households respectively goes to the purchasing of street foods.

Mrs Darko said strengthening the regulation of the street food business would empower street food vendors to advocate for improved working conditions once improved standards for food safety is assured to consumers.

She said economically empowered street food vendors could be included in assessing the financial capital needed for the expansion and growth of their businesses.

Professor George Oduro Nkansah, the Director of the Institute of Applied Science and Technology of the UG, said partnering with FDA was in the right direction.

He said the inception workshop would assist the project partners to come up with modalities on how best the street vendors could operate taking cognizance of the hygienic, economic and capacity building considerations.

Prof Nkansah, said it is obvious that many people after buying and consuming food from the street complained of stomach upsets.

He said having a standard to regulate the activity of street food vendors would go a long way to ensure food safety for the nation so that buying food from the street vendors would no longer be risky.

Madam Afua Addotey, the President of FIDA-Ghana, said although there are laws, the vendors may not be conversant with the law so the project would focus on educating them about the bye-laws and the laws in operating as street food vendors.

She said a survey conducted by MasterCard Index last year showed that 46 per cent of women in Ghana were into various businesses including street food vending.

She said it is time the women in these sectors receive help to ensure safety of the food they sell.

Source: GNA

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