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Food fraud on the rise – FDA

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Mr Kofi Essel, Head of Food Industrial Support Services Department at the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), says food fraud across the world is on the rise.

He has, therefore, cautioned the public to be vigilant and source food, especially alcoholic beverages from credible and right sources.

Mr Essel who was speaking about food safety at a stakeholder’s forum organised by Nestlé Ghana Limited to mark 2021 World Food Day (WFD) in Accra, said individuals perpetuating such acts were involved in adulteration, including the production of sub-standard foods such as high earned-alcoholic beverages.

This year’s WFD event was under the theme, “Our actions are our future- better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life”.

The event was also used to observe the Nestle’s Iron (Fe) campaign, which seeks to educate the public on the risks, symptoms and solutions to iron deficiency in the population.

Mr Essel said perpetrators of food fraud targeted countries that did not have the requisite technology and know-how to detect such foods.

“It is for this reason that at the first International Food Safety Conference held in February, 2019 in Addis Ababa, under the auspices of the WHO, FAO and the AU, participating governments pledged their support to fight against this emerging public health concerns and to invest in technologies and other resources to promote food safety that will promote public health and safety and ensure guarantees of access to international food trade,” he said.

Mr Essel told the Ghana News Agency that, Ghana was very much aware about such foods and that the FDA had intensified its Import Control Systems, Market Surveillance, including regular sampling and testing of imported food products.

He urged the public to make food safety a priority and be guided by the 2021 World Food Safety Day celebration tag line, “If it is not safe, it is not food”.

“As humans, our life span to a larger extent depends on what we put in our bodies, so we need to be careful about what we consume,” Mr Essel added.

Professor Matilda Steiner-Asiedu, Professor of Nutrition and Public Health Advocate, commenting on food systems and its safety, said ensuring safety of foods started from the farm, transportation at the right temperatures, storage, preparation, and dishing.

He observed that food safety often got compromised along the chain, leading to loss of right micronutrients.

“The other issue is the excessive intake of carbohydrates. People need to eat the right proportion of all the food groups in order to get the right nutrient to keep healthy,” she said.

She advised the public not to buy food stuffs, especially fresh vegetables such as cabbage, garden eggs, tomatoes, carrots, and spinach displayed on the floor or on sacks.

Mr Georgios Badaro, Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana Ltd. said, “To secure a better future for generations to come, we need to go beyond sustainability and transition to a regenerative food system – one that aims to protect and restore the environment, improve the livelihoods of farmers and enhance the well-being of farming communities”.

“Working with our food system partners, including our network of farmers and suppliers, Nestlé will advance regenerative farming practices at the heart of the food system. Nestlé cannot do it alone; we need to continue to work together with our various experts for the good of Ghanaians”.

Every year, World Food Day is observed on October 16 to raise awareness on the issue of hunger and healthy food habits for all.

It marks the founding day of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and celebrated around 150 countries across the world with multiple partners and governments involvement.

The Day, over time, led to raising awareness for hunger, malnutrition, sustainability, and food production.

The Borgen Project, a non-governmental organization working to end poverty and hunger, said while hunger in Ghana had been a struggle, the country had progressed past mass food insecurity and malnourishment.

It said sustainability and persistent progress had allowed for the capital, Accra, to become a metropolitan.

“The modernised version of Ghana includes less impoverished families and less food insecure communities,” the Project said on its website.

Source: GNA

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